Benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE)


It is common, mild form of childhood epilepsy characterized by brief simple partial seizures involving the face and mouth, usually occurring at night or during the early morning hours. Seizures are the result of brief disruptions in the brain's normal neuronal activity.


A normal child having such seizures is given an EEG test to confirm the diagnosis, a test that graphs the pattern of electrical activity in the brain. BRE has a typical EEG spike pattern - repetitive spike activity firing predominantly from the mid - temporal or parietal areas of the brain near the rolandic (motor) strip.


This syndrome represents about 15% of all epilepsies in children. The seizures begin at an average age of about 6 to 8 years (range 3-13) and are a bit more likely to affect boys. The children generally have normal intelligence, which is not affected by the seizures.


BRE may be left untreated, If a child's seizures are frequent or troublesome, or if there is a concern about nocturnal seizures, antiepileptic medications may be prescribed. Carbamazepine is the drug of choice, followed by valproic acid. Under a doctor's supervision, medication can be tapered off and discontinued once the child reaches puberty, or after seizure - free period of approximately three years.