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Despite previous well-presented descriptions of the characteristics of the benign partial epilepsies of childhood, these conditions, which are much commoner than childhood absence epilepsy, are under-recognised. Panayiotopoulos has had a long-standing interest in seizures secondary to occipital discharges. Since his first publications appeared more than 20 years ago, he has added continuously to the literature on benign occipital and other benign partial epilepsies of childhood. In addition, his studies on photosensitivity and associated disorders have expanded knowledge in these areas. The 837 references cited bear witness to the breadth of scholarship which has gone into the preparation of the current text, which is without rival in this field. There is liberal and very helpful use of illustrative case histories. For the occipital epilepsies, there are descriptions of the syndromes, initially delineated in a useful table and later expanded in detailed chapters. In addition, the causes of symptomatic occipital epilepsies are briefly reviewed. Much is made of common confusions between migraine and occipital seizures. Case histories and a table highlight the differences: the importance of careful assessment of the history is repeatedly emphasised. Severe variants of the benign epilepsies are addressed, and the terminology is clearly defined. Numerous electroencephalograms are carefully described. General paediatricians, who are those most likely to see the child at presentation, as well as paediatric epileptologists, should obtain personal copies.
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