Significant elevations in ACTH and prolactin plasma levels were found within one hour after generalized tonic-clonic seizures in 10 epileptic patients but not in patients with syncopal attacks investigated at the Service de Neurologie, Hopital General 3, rue Faubourg Raines, Dijon, France. The mean ACTH and prolactin levels were 72.6+/- 3.7pg/ml and 13.9+/-1.9 ng/ml at one hour compared to 17.1+/-2.1 pg/ml and 4.1+/-1.2 ng/ml, respectively, at three to five days after seizures; the differences were significant (p<0.01) and independent of anti-convulsant effects. Levels of FSH, LH, and TSH were unchanged. The post-ictal rise of ACTH and prolactin levels may be used in the differentiation of epileptic seizures and syncope. [1]

COMMENT. In the last 10 years, numerous studies have demonstrated the hormonal effects not only of generalized convulsive seizures but also of complex partial seizures and of interictal epileptiform discharges [2]. Plasma prolactin elevations are used to differentiate epileptic from pseudo-seizures [3]. It is postulated that persistent elevations of prolactin may contribute to endocrine dysfunctions in epileptic patients.

In the same issue of [4], Landrieu P of the Hospital de Bicetre reviews the recent progress and perspectives in pediatric neurology in France.