Reading epilepsy: report of five new cases and further considerations on the pathophysiology

P Wolf, T Mayer, M Reker
Seizure: the Journal of the British Epilepsy Association 1998, 7 (4): 271-9
Five new cases of reading epilepsy (RE) are reported. This is an epilepsy syndrome belonging to the group of idiopathic localization-related epilepsies. They all have some interesting features which contribute to the understanding of the pathomechanism and nosology of this specific type of reflex epilepsy. In our first patient the precipitating effect of texts in unknown languages depended upon phonematic intricacy. With our second case, changes of script within the text (Latin to Greek) increased the precipitating effect. The visual aura experiences reported in vague terms by some patients with RE may represent ictal dyslexia. For case three RE had been misdiagnosed as phobic neurosis. Even if a patient has a history of development dyslexia, and ictal dyslexia is a feature of the seizures, the onset of RE is not during primary school age but at puberty. Our fourth patient's manifestation factor of (late-onset) RE was a change of scriptural environment (Kyrillic to Latin) . Unilateral myocloni were observed with bilateral spike wave discharge in RE, and carbamazepine possibly increased the epileptic response in RE. With the co-occurrence of RE and juvenile myoclonic epilepsy in case five, the clinical features of both syndromes remained separate. All five patients responded well to treatment with valproic acid, and all confirmed that the syndrome has no tendency to deteriorate in long-term follow-up.

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