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March 13, 2017 E-Pearl of the Week: Transient epileptic amnesa (TEA)

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March 13, 2017

Transient epileptic amnesa

Transient epileptic amnesia (TEA), a form of temporal lobe epilepsy, usually starts in the 50s with recurrent spells upon wakening (typically 30-60 minute durations). Spells consist of profound retrograde amnesia and partial anterograde amnesia with preserved insight1. Patients can exhibit repetitive questioning seen with transient global amnesia (TGA). One-third show temporal electroencephalographic abnormalities, with some having structural temporal pathology1. Unlike TGA, TEA causes accelerated long-term forgetting and remote memory impairment. Unresponsiveness, hallucinations, and automatisms are also seen. Anticonvulsant treatment is effective, but cognitive disturbance frequently persists.

References:

  1. Zeman A, Butler C. Transient epileptic amnesia. Current opinion in Neurology 2010; 23: 610-616.

Submitted by Michael Kinney, BSc, MB, BCh, MRC, Adult Neurology Registrar - Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Dr. Kinney reports no disclosures.

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