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Are brief or recurrent transient global amnesias of epileptic origin?
  1. T P Melo,
  2. J M Ferro,
  3. T Paiva
  1. Department of Neurology, Hospital de Santa Maria, University of Lisbon, Portugal.


    To evaluate if short (less than one hour) or recurrent, or both, episodes of transient global amnesia (TGA) have an epileptic origin or carry a subsequent risk of epilepsy a group of patients with these types of TGA attacks was studied. The group was selected from a prospective series of 103 patients with TGA. Sixteen patients had an episode lasting less than one hour, 13 had more than one episode, and five patients had both short and recurrent attacks. For each patient the number of recurrences was small (four or less) and they were separated by months or years. During short attacks of TGA many subjects showed other typical features of TGA including repeated questioning (12 subjects) and performance of purposeful complex acts (eight subjects). Twelve short attacks were closely related to a characteristic precipitating event. During follow up only one patient had a seizure (partial motor). No other association between either short or repeated attacks of TGA and past history of epilepsy or paroxysmal discharges were seen on the EEG. Short or recurrent, or both, attacks of TGA are not epileptic and do not carry a relevant risk of subsequent seizures.

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