Benign Myoclonic Epilepsy in Infancy

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  • One of the idiopathic generalized epilepsies
  • 1% to 2% of epilepsies that start before the age of 3 years
  • Seizures start between 0.5 and 3 years of age in developmentally normal children. However, some cases have a later onset up to 4 years
  • A family history of febrile seizures and epilepsy is often reported
  • Remission usually occurs within 1 year (6 months to 5 years) from onset.
  • The outcome is generally benign. In rare cases, myoclonic epilepsy such as Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy may follow Benign Myoclonic Epilepsy in Infancy


  • Myoclonic jerks involving mostly the upper part of the body, singular or clusters
  • Consciousness is normally intact
  • Photosensitivity in 20% of the patients
  • Unexpected acoustic or tactile stimuli can elicit a the myoclonic jerks in 10%.


  • valproic acid was effective in 23 of 30 treated patients [1]
  • Patients with acoustic and somatosensory evoked myoclonic seizures may not need treatment.


Generalized (poly)spike slow wave in a 15 year old male with JME (source)

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy in a 15 year old male (source) EEGpedia.png


  1. Auvin, S. , Pandit, F. , De Bellecize, J. , Badinand, N. , Isnard, H. , Motte, J. , Villeneuve, N. , Lamblin, M. , Vallée, L. and , (2006), Benign Myoclonic Epilepsy in Infants: Electroclinical Features and Long‐term Follow‐up of 34 Patients. Epilepsia, 47: 387-393. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2006.00433.x