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Health Information For Parents
Kids with benign rolandic epilepsy of childhood (BREC) have seizures that involve twitching, numbness, or tingling of the face or tongue.
They typically happen in the early morning hours or just before bedtime. They also can happen during sleep. The seizures may stop 2–4 years after they begin, but often continue into puberty.
The term “benign” is somewhat outdated because now it is known that some of these children have learning difficulties.
The seizures in BREC (also known as benign rolandic epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes, or BECTS) are focal seizures. This means that they only happen on one side of the brain at a time. They can shift from side to side.
The seizures usually last less than 2 minutes and during one, a child will have:
Sometimes a BREC seizure can lead to a tonic-clonic seizure in which the whole body jerks with forceful movements.
Doctors don’t know what causes benign rolandic epilepsy. Some kids with BREC may have a relative who also has epilepsy. Recently, several gene mutations were discovered in such families.
BREC is diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist (a doctor who specializes in brain, spine, and nervous system problems). Testing may include:
There is some debate as to whether children with benign rolandic epilepsy need treatment. In some European countries, doctors often choose not to treat the condition.
Many pediatric neurologists use a low-dose seizure medicine to treat BREC. Before stopping the medicine when a child reaches puberty, doctors usually order a 24-hour VEEG recording to make sure the centrotemporal spikes are gone.
If your child takes medicine, make sure you give it exactly as directed. Also help your child avoid known seizure triggers such as lack of sleep or the use of antihistamine medicines (such as Benadryl).
Some children with BREC have learning or behavior problems during the years that they have seizures. While this usually goes away after the child stops having seizures, get help from specialists early on to support academic and emotional success.
No special care is needed during a typical BREC seizure. But because a BREC seizure can lead to a tonic-clonic seizure, make sure that you and other adults and caregivers (family members, babysitters, teachers, coaches, etc.) know what to do if one happens.
Epilepsy causes electrical signals in the brain to misfire, which can lead to multiple seizures. Anyone can get epilepsy at any age, but mostÂ new diagnoses are in kids.
Kids with childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) have seizures where they “blank out” for a few seconds. Most kids will outgrow CAE.
Intractable epilepsy is when a child’s seizures can’t be controlled by medicines. Doctors may recommend surgery or other treatments for intractable seizures.
Kids with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) have one or more of several different kinds of seizures, which begin around the age of puberty.
Kids with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) have seizures that start in one of the temporal lobes of the brain. Seizures usually get better with medicine.
The brain controls everything we do, and is often likened to the central computer within a vast, complicated communication network, working at lightning speed.
If the brain is a central computer that controls all the functions of the body, then the nervous system is like a network that relays messages back and forth to different parts of the body. Find out how they work in this Body Basics article.
Seizures are caused by a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. Find out what you need to know about seizures and what to do if your child has one.
Although seizures can be frightening, usually they last only a few minutes, stop on their own, and are almost never life-threatening.
Is your child scheduled to have an EEG? Find out how this test is done and when you can expect the results.
What teachers should know about epilepsy, and what they can do to help students with the condition succeed in school.
Seizures are a common symptom of epilepsy, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Learn all about epilepsy, including what to do if you see someone having a seizure.
It comes from a Greek word meaning “to hold or seize,” and seizures are what happen to people with epilepsy. Learn more about epilepsy in this article written just for kids.
A neurologist is a doctor who studies the nervous system.
You might hear a seizure called a convulsion, fit, or spell.
Epilepsy surgery is an operation done on the brain to reduce or stop seizures.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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