Nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy: Sporadic versus familial cases

L. Ferini-Strambi, A. Oldani, M. Zucconi, R. Asselta, M. T. Bonati, L. Dalpra, S. Duga, M. Malcovati, M. L. Tenchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A lot of clinical and neurophysiological studies on patients with abnormal nocturnal motor and behavioural phenomena have been performed during the last thirty years. The etiologic conclusions of these studies were often in conflict between an epileptic or non-epileptic origin. The systematic use of nocturnal video-polysomnography has largely improved the diagnostic yield in patients with clusters of nocturnal motor events. We performed an extensive clinical and video-polysomnographic study in 147 patients complaining of repeated abnormal nocturnal motor and/or behavioural phenomena. On the basis of a detailed clinical assessment and of a complete nocturnal video-polysomnographic study we diagnosed 35 patients as having parasomnia, 67 sporadic nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy and 45 familial (autosomal dominant) nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy. We found no difference in clinical and neurophysiological data between familial and sporadic cases of nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy. However, it should be stressed the difference between nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy and parasomnias. In any case, large and full video-polysomnographical studies are of the utmost importance in order to clarify the real prevalence of both nocturnal (either sporadic and familial form) frontal lobe epilepsy and parasomnias, and to provide a correct therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-25
Number of pages4
JournalSleep and Hypnosis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy
  • Parasomnias
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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