Eating Epilepsy is Associated With Initial Precipitating Events and Therapy Resistance

Kokes U., Baykan B., Bebek N., Gurses C., Gokyigit A.

CLINICAL EEG AND NEUROSCIENCE, vol.44, no.2, pp.161-166, 2013 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1550059412459509
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.161-166
  • Keywords: eating epilepsy, seizures, electroencephalography, reflex epilepsy, epileptogenesis, REFLEX EPILEPSIES, SEIZURES, FOOD
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


We present the characteristics of eating epilepsy (EE), which is an underrecognized and complex form of reflex epilepsy. The files of 8996 patients with epilepsy were investigated retrospectively and only 6 cases (0.067%) were found. Four males and 2 females, aged 20 to 63 years, had focal seizures, mostly with dyscognitive and experiential aura triggered by eating, as well as spontaneous seizures. All had an initial precipitating event for seizures (such as head/birth trauma or encephalitis). In 4 patients, the seizures were induced in the middle of the meal or even closely after the end. In the remaining 2 cases the seizures were at the beginning of the meal, suggesting 2 different mechanisms. Two patients had normal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), whereas the others had heterogeneous findings. The interictal electroencephalographs (EEGs) showed frequent spikes over a large area on the left temporal region in 5 and over the right temporal area in 1 case. We recorded eating-related seizures originating from the left temporal region in 3 cases. Positron-emission tomography (PET) investigations were concordant with the EEG foci in 2 patients. All but 1 had a therapy-resistant course. Our study suggested that EE is extremely rare and occurred many years after an initial precipitating event for seizures. These focal seizures, starting mostly with experiential/dyscognitive aura, usually originated from the left temporal region, had mostly a therapy-resistant course, and were triggered by different mechanisms during eating with a long latency in most of the cases.