Rolandic epilepsy: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment


Seizures are bursts of electrical information in the brain that cause symptoms such as loss of consciousness, muscle twitching, and confusion. Epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures. A pediatrician can diagnose epilepsy in your child if they have two or more seizures without another known cause.

Benign Rolandic epilepsy is also called benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes. Medical texts sometimes shorten this to “BCECTS”.

It is the most common childhood epilepsy and affects approximately 10 to 20 children per 100,000. It usually develops in children under 13 and the seizures often stop at puberty.

Keep reading to learn more about Benign Rolandic Epilepsy, including its symptoms, risk factors, and treatments.

This type of epilepsy most often develops between the age of 3 and 12 years old. It is called “benign” because most children get past it in their teens. The name “Rolandic” refers to the part of the brain in which seizures develop: the Rolandic zone, or centrotemporal zone. This part of your child’s brain controls their face, mouth, and throat.

Children with benign Rolandic epilepsy usually have seizures soon after going to bed or before they wake up. Seizures tend to be infrequent and last less than 2 minutes.

Benign Rolandic epilepsy is the The most common type of childhood epilepsy. It affects about 10 to 20 children under 15 per 100,000 and represents about 15 percent childhood epilepsy.

The exact cause is unknown. Genetics are thought to play a role in its development because approximately 25 percent of children with this disease have a family history of epilepsy or febrile seizures. Researchers have not identified a specific gene involved, but areas on chromosome 11 are believed to contribute to the development of this disease.

Symptoms of this condition can include:

Some symptoms usually develop on one side of the body, although sometimes they spread to both sides.

In some cases, symptoms can also include:

Boys develop this condition slightly more often than girls. In a group of 25 children with benign Rolandic epilepsy, researchers would expect to find 10 girls and 15 boys.

The condition most commonly develops in older children 6 to 8 years old, but seizures can start anywhere between ages 3 and 13.

Children with a family history of epilepsy are more likely to develop it than those who do not.

Doctors first look at a child’s symptoms and review their personal and family medical history. They also use information from an electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG is a machine that measures brain activity.

If the EEG reading shows spikes in the centrotemporal region brain of your child, it may be indicative of this health problem.

A doctor may also use MRIs to examine your child’s brain, but an MRI is often not necessary if your child has typical symptoms.

Usually, children with this disease have infrequent seizures that occur at night. Many children do not need to take anti-epileptic drugs.

In general, the doctor may recommend anti-epileptic drugs if your child has:

If they recommend medication, the most common options are:

In a 2015 study, the researchers found that 77.8 to 84.2 percent of children with benign Rolandic epilepsy responded to first-line medications. These findings are consistent with the findings of another 2015 study, in which researchers found that first-line drugs were successful in treating the disease in 72 of 84 children.

It is important to see a doctor when your child has his first seizure. Health problems other than epilepsy, such as side effects of drugs and diabetes, can also cause seizures, and a doctor should rule them out. Then they can help develop the best treatment plan.

When to call 911

Seeing a doctor right away is essential if your child:

  • has a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes
  • does not wake up after his seizure
  • has repeated seizures
  • injures himself during his seizure
  • has more than one seizure in 24 hours
  • has a water crisis
  • never had a seizure before

If you think your child is having a seizure, it is important to stay calm. It can help your child not to get hurt. If your child is not having a seizure, you can just stay with him while observing his behavior and timing his seizure.

If your child has a seizure:

  • Do not put anything in their mouth.
  • Don’t try to stop their movements.
  • Gently try to put them in a safe position, which may involve guiding them to a soft surface.
  • Try to help him get to the side so that the drool comes out of his mouth.

Whether or not a child receives medication for the disease, the outlook is excellent. Seizures stop around the age of 15 or 16 in about 95 percent children. On 10 to 20 percent of children with the disease have only one seizure, and most have less than 10.

Some children with benign Rolandic epilepsy have behavioral or learning difficulties. These usually go away in adolescence, when their seizures pass.

Benign Rolandic epilepsy is the most common seizure disorder in children. Other common types include:

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is the most common generalized epileptic syndrome. Generalized means that it develops throughout a child’s brain. It usually causes seizures soon after waking up.

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is considered a lifetime condition, while most children with benign Rolandic epilepsy stop having seizures by 16 years old.

Childhood epilepsy

Absence epilepsy in children usually causes absence seizures. It involves becoming unresponsive for about 10 to 20 seconds. Seizures usually go away in late childhood or adolescence.

Infantile idiopathic occipital epilepsy of the Gastaut type

It usually develops in late childhood and causes seizures that begin with blindness or visual hallucinations. Seizures are usually frequent and occur during the day. On 90 percent of children with this type of epilepsy respond to the drug carbamazepine. The seizures disappear in 2 to 4 years in more than half of those who suffer from them.

Benign Rolandic Epilepsy, or BCECTS, is the most common type of childhood epilepsy. He generally has excellent outlook, and most children overtake him by 16 years old. Seizures tend to happen right after the child goes to bed or before he wakes up.

If you suspect that your child has had a seizure, it is important to see their doctor, who can make the diagnosis and determine if they will benefit from taking anti-epileptic drugs.


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