Genital automatisms in childhood partial seizures

András Fogarasi, Ingrid Tuxhorn, Andrea Tegzes, József Janszky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To describe frequency and electroclinical characteristics as well as localizing and lateralizing value of childhood periictal genital automatisms (GAs). Methods: Five-hundred-forty-one videotaped seizures of 109 consecutive patients <12 years with refractory partial epilepsy and postoperatively seizure-free outcome were analyzed. Genital automatisms (scratching, fondling or grabbling of the genitals) were monitored by two independent investigators. Results: Eight (four temporal, four extratemporal) patients (7%) showed GA at least once during 20 (3.7%) seizures. Age of patients with GA was between 4.5 and 11.9 (mean 9.5 ± 2.4) years and was significantly higher than the age of children without GA (p = 0.006). Boys showed GAs more frequently than girls (p = 0.026). Genital automatisms appeared both ictally and postictally with a mean duration of 51 s. They were unilateral (completed by one hand) in 18/20 seizures and were done by the hand ipsilateral to the seizure onset zone in 16/18 cases (p = 0.001). Although consciousness was preserved during GA in 3/8 patients, neither periictal urinary urge nor penile erection was associated with it. Conclusions: Periictal GAs appear in school-age patients with a similar frequency to that in adults but almost lack in preschool children. Although the presence of childhood GA has neither localizing nor lateralizing value per se, the hand used for GA is more frequently ipsilateral to the seizure onset zone. The mechanisms for childhood GAs are not clear but probably different from those of adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2005


  • Children
  • Epilepsy
  • Genital automatism
  • Lateralizing signs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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