A retrospective multicentre study was performed to analyse psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) in prepubertal and pubertal patients with idiopathic epilepsy and to determine whether have different clinical characteristics. In this study, we reviewed 36 patients from six neurological referral centres: Department of Pediatrics, Chieti (3 patients); Department of Child Neuropsychiatry, Naples (9 patients); Department of Child Neuropsychiatry, Bologna (8 patients); Department of Neuroscience, Tor Vergata University, Rome (3 patients); Department of Pediatrics, La Sapienza University, Rome (5 patients); and Department of Pediatrics, Siena (8 patients). The population was divided according to Tanner-stages into 14 prepubertal (group I) and 22 pubertal (group II) patients. The two groups were compared on several variables examining the differences between them. The most frequent clinical manifestations in group I were unresponsive events, whereas in group II, motor events were exhibited more significantly. Mood disorders, including major depression, appeared more frequently in pubertal group, but this did not reach a significant difference. Among the psychosocial stressors, fear of rejection and need for attention were the predominant types in the prepubertal patients. The findings of this study reveal some similarities and differences between prepubertal and pubertal patients, which might help to identify predictive factors in patients affected by idiopathic epilepsy who can develop PNES. © Springer-Verlag 2009.
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