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Controversies in Neurology
January 1998

Do Nonconvulsive Seizures Damage the Brain?—No

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.



Arch Neurol. 1998;55(1):119-120. doi:10.1001/archneur.55.1.119

WHEN attempting to determine whether nonconvulsive seizures cause brain damage, it is appropriate to examine initially whether nonconvulsive status epilepticus produces such damage. If it does, the aggressive treatment of this form of status epilepticus may be justified despite the potential morbidity of certain therapeutic approaches. If it does not, it may reasonably be concluded that isolated nonconvulsive seizures also fail to produce brain damage. To my knowledge, there is no information to indicate whether isolated nonconvulsive seizures recurring over many years are harmful, although it is pertinent that a benign course and an excellent prognosis for remission without evidence of cerebral damage are associated with certain hereditary, childhood-onset, nonconvulsive seizure disorders.

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