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Abnormalities on EEG but not during possible seizure

Last December while sick with the flu my 10 year old daughter started having episodes of feeling everything around her was moving really fast. Noises were going fast, people/objects in the room that were moving were moving fast, her thoughts were racing. She is completely conscious/alert and can move/talk during these episodes. These episodes lasted usually around 4 min. The episodes have been continuing on and off (usually 2-3 x a week) sine then. She has gone several weeks without an episode only to have them start up again. Some of her most recent episodes have been 10 min long.

We were recently referred to a pediatric neurologist. MRI was negative except for chronic sinusitis. A sleep deprived EEG showed abnormality in the Occipital Lobe and Temporal Lobe. She recently had an inpatient, 72 hour EEG in hopes of capturing one of these episodes on an EEG. She did have an episode while hooked up in the hospital. But it was not typical. Only lasted 2 minutes. It showed no changes/abnormalities on the EEG. The EEG however, did show other abnormalities that were not picked up in the sleep deprived EEG. It showed abnormalities in the Rolandic area.

Our neurologist feels that despite the episode not showing changes in the EEG, that she has Epilepsy. He feels these speed up episodes are a manifestation of all the abnormalities on the EEG. I assumed that if it was a seizure it would show up on the EEG. We have started her on Trileptal.

We are getting a lot of pressure from family to get a second opinion. Not only are our daughter's episodes not typical for Epilepsy, people have lots of other ideas about what it could it be. (hormones, adrenaline, anxiety etc.) Wouldn't these episodes show up on an EEG if they were epileptic? Or are just these abnormalities are enough to treat?

I would appreciate any feedback anyone has or love to hear of any similar experiences.


Hello. The symptoms you described your daughter has of objects and people moving fast sounds like a type of aura. There are many auras people have, seeing zigzag lines, hearing voices or sounds that are not there, feeling tingly on one side of their face or body. An aura is a simple partial seizure that may or may not lead to a seizure.

I have grand mal seizures that only happen when I am sleeping. I have one maybe 2 seizures a month. I started to have seizures in my sleep starting in 2009. I have had all the tests done CT Scan, MRI, and EEG. All tests came back normal and showed no seizure activity. Many times seizure activity will not show up on an EEG because sometimes the seizure activity is so deep in the brain that it is not detected. An EEG only measures the electrical activity on the skull, not deep in the brain. 

I have auras before I have a seizure and after I have a seizure. But my auras are not quite the same as the auras they describe. I have 3 types of auras I have noticed. Several times before I had a seizure when I would be taking a nap, I would smell a spaghetti sauce smell. I call this the spaghetti sauce smell aura. I have smelled a spaghetti sauce smell and woke up from my nap and realized I had a seizure. I also have what I call the thought aura. Several times before I would go to bed the thought "You're going to have a seizure tonight" would pop in my head. I would go to bed and wake up later and realized I had a seizure. Then I have what I call the icky feeling aura. This is where an icky feeling like a hot flash type feeling would go through my body and travel from my head down to my feet. I would get hot, my body would feel tingly, my vision would go dim and tunnel vision, and my hearing goes muffled. I look at my arms and hands and they don't seem to be mine. I also think weird thoughts but I don't remember them. 

There are over 40 different types of seizures. Not every one who has a seizure disorder or epilepsy has all the characteristics of the type of seizure they have and many may not be typical of that seizure. I said I have grand mal seizures that only happen when I am sleeping. I never can find much info. on my type of seizures I have. So many times how I feel after a seizure, the auras I have, how I am during a seizure, I just can't find any reference to my type of seizures and it is very frustrating. I sometimes wonder if I am actually having seizures but my boyfriend sees me having seizures when I am sleeping and he tells me yes I am having seizures. 

Well I hope this helped you. Do a search on auras and see if you can find any info. on what your daughter is feeling. Good luck and take care.

I'm not exactly sure what to tell you about your daughter, but as far as the EEG's, I don't put a lot of faith in them. I had one EEG where I had a gap in time and according to my wife had my usual lip smacking seizure and she said I had lots of spikes on the readout. I was terribly disoriented and tired afterwards so had clearly had a seizure. My epilepsy was very poorly controlled at the time.

Unfortunately, my neurologist concluded nothing from it, saying it wasn't totally normal, but not significantly abnormal. Whatever that means. The EEG had a video camera and he said watching the video looked like I had a seizure but it didn't seem to jive with my EEG.

He went on to say that some people with epilepsy always have normal EEGs and some people without epilepsy have abnormal EEGs and they don't know why.

I kow about EEG's not shpwing anything. The old saying is Been there Done that. I was 12 when I had wierd feelings and I never said anything about them. They happened a dew times a month,About 6 months later I had a grand mal seizure. My doctor had EEG run with no abnormalities. I had tehn done about 10 times with no abnormalities. When I was ready for spring break and had plans for having a great time, I didn;t get that. Doctors had set up tests for me. Those tests were done in a hospital a long way away from home. they weren't all fun tests but back then there was no CT scan or MRI. All week I was in tests including 4 other EEGs. The las test was another EEG I was tired and fell asleep and in that EEG they found abnormalities. Using that EEG they went into the angeogram I had and found scard brain tissue. The neurologist was also the head doctor in that hospital. The seizures I had back then were pettit mal, grand mal and focal motor seizures. AUras now and then but most were partial seizures going into complex partial seizures. As for not  typical you do need to understand that the seizuresI have can be called partial seizures but other people with partial seizures have different things going on.What I feel is different than what jake feels. The same with medicationssome work on people and not work on others.

My neurologist had me in a monitor unit for a few days they ran a MIR. I was hooked up to an EEG and was being watched. I had been taken off my meds and wasn't given any and I know when I had seizures so I press th call butten and they answered I told the when I had those and they evidently marked that area of the EEG. I sat around watching movies and playing cards for 3 days. I saw my neuro that afternoon and he showed me what he found. He was able to see the scared tissue and he knew about when that happened. He was also abl to use the EEG to find the area better. My scared brain tissue is what caused my epilepsy. That tisue in in more than 1 lobe and th  tests done when I was a kid could not have found all the tissue.

EEGs capture the electrical impulses but they can't get deep inside the brain. Has the neuro you had checked th abnormalites from the EEG and found out what that area has in the brain?

I am not trying to protect the neuro but help you understand seizures are different wiith each person.

I would suggest you get the Diary located at the top of this page. Go in and watch the video it will tell you how to use it and what that information can do. Questions always asked when you see a neuro is "How namy seizures have you had. That information is in hte diary along with notes anf time. All that information will help. The information in the diary would show possiable triggers. If side effects happen they can be notes. Please do that so the neuro can help get your daughter seizure free.

good luck

fullofquestions - You might consider reading some educational books about the general idea of paying attention - inattention such as the Nerves in Collision book by Walter C.
Alvarez, M.D. and the How To Cure Hyperactivity book (1981) about Inattentive
ADHD / Auditory Processing / Nutrition by C. Thomas Wild, introduction by Anita
Uhl Brothers, M.D. In terms of meds, meds work better for some than others.
Keep a drug diary to slowly figure out what the meds do/don't do. Meds are part
of the answer for some, not for others. In some instances, a correct diagnosis
is possible but effective treatment can be a little iffy. Best wishes.

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