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Keywords:

  • EEG;
  • Differential diagnosis;
  • Idiopathic generalized epilepsies

Summary:  This article concentrates on the role of electroencephalograms (EEGs) in the diagnosis and management of patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGEs). We review the morphologic and behavioral characteristics of the interictal and ictal EEG markers of IGE that should guide recording strategies to augment its diagnostic yield, and we attempt to delineate those particular features that may be relevant to different IGE syndromes. We also explore the electrographic boundaries between IGEs and cryptogenic/symptomatic generalized and focal epilepsies, and focal/secondary generalized epilepsies, with particular relevance to the phenomena of focal abnormalities and secondary bilateral synchrony, commenting on possible diagnostic pitfalls and areas of uncertainty.