Positron emission tomography was used to study the cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (CMRGlc) in 7 adult patients with generalized spike-and-wave activity in the electroencephalogram. No consistent changes were seen in the CMRGlc. There was a slight trent toward an increased CMRGlc in 2 patients with primary generalized epilepsy, while in the 5 other patients with minor deviations from this condition or with secondary generalized epilepsy, the CMRGlc was unaffected by spike-and-wave activity or was below the normal range. Neither the amount of spike-and-wave activity in the EEG nor the presence of clinically evident absence seizures appeared to influence the CMRGlc. Therefore, we conclude that neuronal activity underlying spike-and-wave discharge does not seem to require increased glucose utilization.