Service de Pédiatrie 1, Hôpital de Hautepierre, 67098 Strasbourg Cedex, France.
Since the first descriptions of Rolandic Epilepsy or benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS), typical and atypical forms have been reported. Indeed, classical focal seizures are sometimes associated with various atypical ictal symptoms and cognitive or behavioural disorders. In an effort to define early clinical and EEG criteria allowing early distinction between typical and atypical forms, we recently conducted a prospective study in a cohort of children with Rolandic Epilepsy. The results of this study have been reported elsewhere. We now discuss the semiological characteristics, and comment on the video-EEG data collected during this study. Symptoms were classified into three major categories: "classical focal seizures"; "spike and wave related symptoms"; and "paraictal symptoms". Classical focal seizures constitute the electroclinical expression of the development and the propagation of a focal cortical neuronal discharge. "Spike and wave related symptoms" are brief neurological or neuropsychological phenomena having a relatively strict temporal relation with individual components of isolated focal or generalized spikes and waves. "Paraictal symptoms" consist of acquired progressive and fluctuating motor or cognitive deficits and are not directly correlated with Todd paralysis. We present detailed video-EEG material of selected cases and discuss the usefulness of such distinctions in terminology. We suggest that variability in clinical expression probably reflects the implication of different pathophysiological mechanisms, which in turn could explain differences in sensitivity to treatment. (Published with videosequences.)