Objective: Absence epilepsy shows age-related clinical features, as is observed in childhood and juvenile absence epilepsy. Electroencephalogram (EEG) is characterized by bursts of 3 Hz spike-and-wave complex (SWC). We noticed a morphological variation of the slow-wave component of SWCs between patients. This study investigated whether the waveform of SWC might be associated with the child's age of this epilepsy. Methods: Digitally-recorded EEGs under medication-free conditions were collected from 25 children who received the diagnosis of childhood or juvenile absence epilepsy. The morphology of slow wave in SWC in the frontal midline region was quantitatively compared between younger and older children using a cluster-based permutation test. Results: At <7 years of age (2.9–6.5 years of age, n = 6), the electrical potential of the descending slope in the slow wave was positively correlated with age whereas this correlation was not observed in patients of ≥7 years of age (7.1–12.9 years, n = 19). A cluster-based permutation test confirmed the results—among the entire slow wave period (0–285 msec), the period of the descending slope (195–260 msec) showed significantly lower potential in patients of <7 years of age in comparison to patients of ≥7 years of age (sum of t-values: 46.57, p-value: 0.011). Conclusions: The current study demonstrated an age-dependent morphological difference in the slow-wave components of SWCs in EEGs of patients with pediatric absence epilepsy. This finding may provide a clue to understanding the age-related clinical manifestations of this epilepsy.
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