Nocturnal frontal epilepsies: Diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for sleep specialists

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Nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (NFLE) is an epileptic syndrome characterized by a peculiar motor pattern with ballistic movements, bimanual-bipedal activity, rocking axial and pelvic torsion, and/or sustained dystonic posturing or tremor of the limbs often associated with emotional behaviors. Distinguishing NFLE seizures from nonepileptic sleep-related events, in particular arousal disorders, is often difficult and sometimes impossible by history taking alone. Because of its limited social impact, NFLE is usually considered a benign condition, but about a third of the cases are drug resistant. This article discusses the diagnostic and therapeutic challenges of NFLE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine Clinics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Epileptic nocturnal wandering
  • Limbic system
  • Nocturnal frontal lobe seizures
  • Nocturnal paroxysmal dystonia
  • Paroxysmal arousal
  • Video-polysomnography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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