Benign Rolandic Epilepsy
What is Benign Rolandic Epilepsy BRE?
It is a common childhood seizure syndrome
with seizures that often start at age 6 to 10
years (range 3-13 years). This syndrome is
called “benign” because most children
outgrow the seizures by their teen years. It
is named after the rolandic area of the brain,
which controls movement of the face. The
most common kind of seizures that occur is
called partial motor or focal seizures.
The seizures are mild and often begin in the
face. You may notice some of these
Face or cheek twitching.
Tingling, numbness, in the tongue or
Trouble speaking or slurred speech.
Drooling from not being able to
control the mouth muscles.
Children can stay awake and respond with
these simple partial seizures.
In about half of children with BRE, seizures
spread from the rolandic area in the brain to
the rest of the brain. When this happens, the
seizure is called a tonic-clonic seizure and
you may see these symptoms:
The muscles tighten all over the
A rhythmic jerking of the whole
Your child not responding to you.
After the seizure ends your child
may seem confused.
Although most seizures occur during
nighttime sleep, some occur during the day.
Most seizures happen just after falling
asleep or just before waking up. The
seizures do not happen often but can be
caused by a lack of sleep.
What causes BRE?
The exact cause is not known. This
syndrome tends to run in families. It is more
common in boys than in girls.
How do I know if my child has BRE?
An EEG (brain wave test) is done while the
child is awake and asleep. The doctor will
be looking for certain patterns (spikes) on
the EEG in the part of the brain called the
A brain MRI may also be done to look for
any part of the brain that might be causing
the focal seizures. With BRE, the MRI
should be normal.
A neurological exam should also be done
and will be normal in a child with BRE.
It is helpful if you can describe your child’s
What is the treatment?
Not all children need to take seizure
medicines. Seizures may not happen often
and may only occur at night.
Children take seizure medicine if:
ξ Seizures are frequent.
ξ Seizures occur during the day.
ξ Child has problems staying focused
ξ Child has trouble learning.
Most of the time seizures are well controlled
on a fairly low dose of medicine.
How long will my child have BRE?
Seizure medicines can be stopped when your
child has been seizure-free for 2 years.
Most of the time seizures are outgrown in
the teen years. During the time that the
syndrome is active, some children will have
trouble learning. These problems tend to go
away once the seizures stop and the EEG
goes back to normal.
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is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
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this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©9/2016. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
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