The aim was to examine the occurrence of benign partial epilepsy in infancy (BPEI). BPEI was defined as epilepsies with complex partial seizures (CPS) or secondary generalised seizures (SGS), or both, compatible with the following characteristics: normal development before and after onset, no underlying disorders, normal interictal electroencephalograms (EEGs), and good response to treatment. All 75 patients who developed epilepsy within the first 2 years of age between 1987 and 1993 were evaluated: 22 patients fulfilled the definition completely; eight had CPS only, four SGS only, and 10 had both CPS and SGS; 17 had clusters of seizures. Eight patients had a positive family history. The average age of onset of seizures was 5.9 months. Interictal EEGs were all normal. Response to treatment was excellent and the average period of seizure persistence was 3.0 months. All had normal psychomotor development. Patients with BPEI were more common in this study than previously reported.
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