Transient epileptic amnesia mistaken for mild cognitive impairment? A high-density EEG study

Alessandra Del Felice, Elisabetta Broggio, Valeria Valbusa, Giuseppe Gambina, Chiara Arcaro, Paolo Manganotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) converts to Alzheimer's disease within a few years of diagnosis in up to 80% of patients. The identification among such a population of a rare form of epilepsy (transient epileptic amnesia [TEA]), characterized by mixed anterograde and retrograde amnesia with apparent preservation of other cognitive functions, excessively rapid decay of newly acquired memories, and loss of memories for salient personal events of the remote past, strongly affects prognosis and medical treatment. Our aim was to define the clinical utility of routine high-density electroencephalography (EEG) in patients with MCI for the detection of epilepsy, especially TEA. Using high-density EEG (256 channels), we were able to single out 3 cases of TEA previously misdiagnosed as MCI in this cohort of 76 consecutive patients with MCI diagnosed at our center. Antiepileptic treatment effectively stopped the acute episodes of memory loss. To our knowledge, this is the first report of an incidence of 4% of TEA recorded in such a cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • 256-channel EEG
  • Incidence
  • Mild cognitive deterioration
  • Transient epileptic amnesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Medicine(all)


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