Table 1

 Childhood epileptic syndromes with generally good prognosis

Benign neonatal familial convulsionsDominant, may be severe and resistant during a few days. Febrile or afebrile seizures (benign) may occur later in a minority
Infantile familial convulsionsDominant, seizures often in clusters (overlap with benign partial complex epilepsy of infancy)25
Febrile convulsionsIn some families, febrile and afebrile convulsions occur in different members, the so-called GEFS+ (generalised epilepsy with febrile seizures +); the old dichotomy between febrile convulsions or epilepsy does not always hold
Benign myoclonic epilepsy of infancy26Often seizures during sleep, one rare variety with reflex myoclonic seizures (touch, noise)
Partial idiopathic epilepsy with rolandic spikesThe most frequent; see box 2
Idiopathic occipital partial epilepsyEarly childhood form with seizures during sleep and ictal vomiting, may present as status epilepticus.25,27–29 Later forms with migrainous symptoms; not always benign30
Petit mal absence epilepsyCases with absences only, some have generalised seizures. 60–80% full remission; in most cases, absences disappear on therapy but there are resistant cases (unpredictable)31
Juvenile myoclonic epilepsyAdolescence onset, with early morning myoclonic seizures and generalised seizures during sleep; often history of absences in childhood