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July 1982

Treatment of Primary Reading Epilepsy With Valproic Acid

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor (Drs Vanderzant, Greenberg, and Sackellares); the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington (Dr Fitz); and the Department of Neurology, Newington (Conn) Children's Hospital (Dr Holmes).

Arch Neurol. 1982;39(7):452-453. doi:10.1001/archneur.1982.00510190070028

Primary reading epilepsy, a rare form of sensory precipitated seizures, was first described by Bickford and associates1 in 1956. It has been reported subsequently by several other investigators.2-8 The syndrome consists of clicking sensations of the jaw or actual jaw twitching during reading, often culminating in a generalized tonic-clonic seizure if reading is continued. In most cases, the neurological findings and the resting EEG are normal. Development of the jaw clicking while reading is associated with the appearance of paroxysmal discharges on the EEG. No demonstrable lesion of the brain has been associated with this condition, and the mechanism of seizure precipitation within the complex process of reading has not been determined. Response to most anticonvulsant medications, including phenytoin and phenobarbital, is poor, but clonazepam has been reported to be effective.9,10 We describe two patients with primary reading epilepsy that responded well to valproic acid (Depakene Capsules).


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