Giangennaro Coppola

Università degli Studi di Salerno, Fisciano, Campania, Italy

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Publications (100)227.64 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Schizencephaly is an uncommon malformation of cortical development. Patients with schizencephaly present with a broad range of severe neurologic symptoms including pharmacoresistant epilepsy. Rufinamide is a new antiepileptic drug approved for use as adjunctive therapy of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and it is also effective for refractory partial seizures. We report 3 cases of pediatric patients aged 7.2, 8.1, and 10.1 years, respectively, with intractable epilepsy associated with bilateral open-lip schizencephaly and septo-optic dysplasia. The follow-up ranged from 3.8 to 4.1 years. In our patients, the introduction of rufinamide as adjunctive drug led to a dramatic decline in the number of seizures and an improvement in EEG epileptic activity without side effects. Rufinamide seems to be efficacious and safe in patients with epileptic encephalopathies associated with pharmacoresistant epilepsy; further and larger clinical reports and controlled studies could confirm the usefulness of this anticonvulsant drug.
    Journal of child neurology. 07/2014;
  • Alberto Verrotti, Alessia Carelli, Giangennaro Coppola
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    ABSTRACT: Menkes disease is a lethal multisystemic disorder of copper metabolism characterized by connective tissue abnormalities, progressive neurodegeneration and peculiar "kinky hair." Epilepsy is one of the main clinical features of this disease but it has been described in detail by only a few authors. Most patients develop seizures from 2 to 3 months of age, accompanied by a neurodevelopmental regression. The history of epilepsy is usually characterized by 3 stages: an early stage with focal clonic seizures and status epilepticus, an intermediate stage with infantile spasms, and a late stage with multifocal, myoclonic, and tonic seizures. At the onset, epilepsy can be controlled with anticonvulsant therapy, whereas with the progression of disease, it becomes extremely resistant to all antiepileptic drugs. In this article, we analyze clinical and electroencephalographic (EEG) characteristics of epilepsy in patients with this syndrome.
    Journal of child neurology. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Background and aims: Several neuromotor disorders share exclusive, although often overlooked, nutritional problems. The objective of this study is therefore to delineate the frequency of malnutrition, evaluate the effectiveness of nutritional care, and identify issues needing to be possibly strengthened when caring for these patients into a general pediatrics department.Patients and methods: The study included 30 patients, 21 males and 9 females, aged between 2 and 15 years, affected by cerebral palsy, epileptic encephalopathy, and severe psychomotor developmental delay.Nutritional status was assessed by a dietary questionnaire administered to parents to investigate feeding difficulties; 3 days food diary to quantify daily calorie intake; anthropometrical (weight, height / length, body mass index percentiles, plicometry, specific body segments measurement) and blood (blood count, serum iron, albumin, transferrin, calcium, phosphorus) parameters.
    Italian journal of pediatrics. 07/2014; 40(1):61.
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    ABSTRACT: The literature on the efficacy and safety of rufinamide in childhood-onset epilepsy syndromes currently includes approximately 600 paediatric patients. This paper summarizes the views of a panel of experienced European epileptologists with regard to the current role of rufinamide in the treatment of childhood epilepsies.
    European journal of paediatric neurology: EJPN: official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society 05/2014; · 2.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We analyzed by next-generation sequencing (NGS) 67 epilepsy genes in 19 patients with different types of either isolated or syndromic epileptic disorders and in 15 controls to investigate whether a quick and cheap molecular diagnosis could be provided. The average number of nonsynonymous and splice site mutations per subject was similar in the two cohorts indicating that, even with relatively small targeted platforms, finding the disease gene is not an univocal process. Our diagnostic yield was 47% with nine cases in which we identified a very likely causative mutation. In most of them no interpretation would have been possible in absence of detailed phenotype and familial information. Seven out of 19 patients had a phenotype suggesting the involvement of a specific gene. Disease-causing mutations were found in six of these cases. Among the remaining patients, we could find a probably causative mutation only in three. None of the genes affected in the latter cases had been suspected a priori. Our protocol requires 8-10 weeks including the investigation of the parents with a cost per patient comparable to sequencing of 1-2 medium-to-large-sized genes by conventional techniques. The platform we used, although providing much less information than whole-exome or whole-genome sequencing, has the advantage that can also be run on 'benchtop' sequencers combining rapid turnaround times with higher manageability.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 21 May 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.92.
    European journal of human genetics: EJHG 05/2014; · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The outcome of benign convulsions associated with gastroenteritis (CwG) has generally been reported as being excellent. However, these data need to be confirmed in studies with longer follow-up evaluations. To assess the long-term neurological outcome of a large sample of children presenting with CwG. We reviewed clinical features of 81 subjects presenting with CwG (1994-2010) from three different Italian centers with a follow-up period of at least 3 years. Follow-up period ranged from 39 months to 15 years (mean 9.8 years). Neurological examination and cognitive level at the last evaluation were normal in all the patients. A mild attention deficit was detected in three cases (3.7%). Fourteen children (17.3%) received chronic anti-epileptic therapy. Interictal EEG abnormalities detected at onset in 20 patients (24.7%) reverted to normal. Transient EEG epileptiform abnormalities were detected in other three cases (3.7%), and a transient photosensitivity in one (1.2%). No recurrence of CwG was observed. Three patients (3.7%) presented with a febrile seizure and two (2.5%) with an unprovoked seizure, but none developed epilepsy. The long-term evaluation of children with CwG confirms the excellent prognosis of this condition, with normal psychomotor development and low risk of relapse and of subsequent epilepsy.
    European journal of paediatric neurology: EJPN: official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society 04/2014; · 2.01 Impact Factor
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    Epilepsy Research. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of add-on rufinamide in children with refractory epilepsy symptomatic of neuronal migration disorders. Materials and Methods We recruited 69 patients in a prospective, open-label, add-on treatment study from six Italian and one German centers for pediatric and adolescent epilepsy care according to the following criteria: age 3 or above; focal or generalized seizures refractory to at least three previous antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), alone or in combination, secondary to neuronal migration disorders; two or more seizures per month in the last 6 months; use of another AED, but no more than three, at baseline. Informed consent from parents and/or caregivers was obtained at the time of enrollment. Results We enrolled 69 patients with a mean age of 15 years (range 3-43). Forty-three patients (62%) had a 50-99% seizure reduction, and two (3%) became seizure-free. Seizure frequency was unchanged in 18 (26%) and worsened in 6 (8.7%). Twenty-nine patients (42%) reported adverse side effects, whilst taking rufinamide. Irritability was the most common side effect (11 patients), followed by decreased appetite (10), mood shift (6), vomiting (5), drowsiness (4), and decreased attention (2). Blood levels of concomitant anticonvulsive drugs were transiently abnormal in 5 patients. Conclusion In our population of severely refractory epilepsy due to neuronal migration disorders, rufinamide appeared to be effective and generally well tolerated.
    Epilepsy research 01/2014; · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Studies on the efficacy and tolerability of rufinamide in infants and young children are scarce. Here we report on an open, retrospective, and pragmatic study about safety and efficacy of rufinamide in children aged less than four years, in terms of seizures types and epilepsy syndromes. Methods Forty children (mean age 39.5 months; range 22-48) were enrolled in the study. The mean follow-up period was 12.2 months (range 5-21). Rufinamide was initiated at a mean age of 26.7 months (range 12-42). Final rufinamide mean dosage was 31.5 mg/kg/day if associated with valproic acid and 44.2 mg/kg/day if not. Results The highest seizure reduction rate was observed in the epileptic spasms (46%) and drop attacks (42%) groups. Seizure reduction was also observed in tonic seizures (35%) and in the focal seizure (30%) groups. In terms of epilepsy syndrome, rufinamide was effective in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Results were very poor for those affected by Dravet’s syndrome. Globally, responder rate was 27.5%, including two (5%) patients seizure-free. Adverse reactions occurred in 37.5% of children and were mainly represented by vomiting, drowsiness, irritability, and anorexia. Discontinuation rate due to treatment-emergent adverse events was 15%. Conclusion The present study concludes that rufinamide may be a safe and effective drug for a broad range of seizures and epilepsy syndromes in infants and young children and represents a valid therapeutic option in this population.
    European Journal of Paediatric Neurology. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The literature on the efficacy and safety of rufinamide in childhood-onset epilepsy syndromes currently includes approximately 600 paediatric patients. This paper summarizes the views of a panel of experienced European epileptologists with regard to the current role of rufinamide in the treatment of childhood epilepsies. Rufinamide is effective in decreasing the seizure frequency in the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), especially tonic and atonic seizures. It might consequently be preferred to other drugs as a second-line treatment for LGS when drop-attacks are frequent. The mean responder rate in the published studies is 38% with seizure freedom achieved in 2.4% of patients. Rufinamide has shown some efficacy in epileptic encephalopathies other than LGS. It can be also effective as adjunctive therapy in children and adolescents with drug-resistant partial seizures. The available data suggest that rufinamide has an acceptable risk/benefit ratio with quite a low risk of aggravating seizures. Common adverse effects (somnolence, nausea and vomiting) are usually mild and self-limiting; they are more frequently observed during titration than in the maintenance phase, suggesting that low escalation rates might be associated with fewer adverse effects. Rufinamide appears to have a favourable cognitive profile compared with other antiepileptic drugs. Rufinamide is only approved for adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS in children 4 years of age and older. There are very few data on rufinamide treatment at the onset of LGS or early in the course of the disorder; whether early treatment will improve outcome has yet to be determined.
    European Journal of Paediatric Neurology. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Background The outcome of benign convulsions associated with gastroenteritis (CwG) has generally been reported as being excellent. However, these data need to be confirmed in studies with longer follow-up evaluations. Aim To assess the long-term neurological outcome of a large sample of children presenting with CwG. Methods We reviewed clinical features of 81 subjects presenting with CwG (1994–2010) from three different Italian centers with a follow-up period of at least 3 years. Results Follow-up period ranged from 39 months to 15 years (mean 9.8 years). Neurological examination and cognitive level at the last evaluation were normal in all the patients. A mild attention deficit was detected in three cases (3.7%). Fourteen children (17.3%) received chronic anti-epileptic therapy. Interictal EEG abnormalities detected at onset in 20 patients (24.7%) reverted to normal. Transient EEG epileptiform abnormalities were detected in other three cases (3.7%), and a transient photosensitivity in one (1.2%). No recurrence of CwG was observed. Three patients (3.7%) presented with a febrile seizure and two (2.5%) with an unprovoked seizure, but none developed epilepsy. Conclusions The long-term evaluation of children with CwG confirms the excellent prognosis of this condition, with normal psychomotor development and low risk of relapse and of subsequent epilepsy.
    European Journal of Paediatric Neurology. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Sequencing of the KCNT1, PLCB1, SCN1A and TBC1D24 loci was performed in six children with typical features of malignant migrating partial seizures of infancy (MMPSI), to verify the presence of potential disease-causing mutations, including those already reported to be associated with the disease. Sanger sequencing failed to identify in these genes the previously reported pathogenic mutations in these patients, while a comprehensive mutational scanning analysis of these four loci by targeted re-sequencing led to detection of both intronic and exonic new variants. Based on the current knowledge, the sequence variants identified here do not allow to predict functional phenotypes that might explain, at least in part, MMPSI symptoms.
    Epilepsy research 11/2013; · 2.48 Impact Factor
  • Annals of Neurology 11/2013; · 11.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The relation between epileptic seizures and vaccinations is sometimes debated. In the present work, the impact of vaccination on seizure onset and clinical outcome of SCN1 A mutation-positive patients is addressed. Seventy-two patients diagnosed with Dravet syndrome or generalized epilepsy with febrile seizure plus, carrying SCN1 A mutations or not, were included. Details on vaccination type, temporal relationship between vaccination and seizure occurrence, seizure type at onset and during development, cognitive functioning, and vaccination completion was obtained by reviewing clinical records. Patients were divided into two groups based on the temporal window between vaccination and seizure onset (proximate group: <48 hours; distant group: >48 hours). Vaccination-related seizures occurred in 25% of patients with SCN1 A mutation and 18% of patients without mutation (not significant difference). The proximate group showed an earlier age at seizure onset and a higher frequency of status epilepticus during development than did the distant group. No other significant differences were found. Subsequent vaccinations did not significantly alter the evolution of the disease. Results from this relatively small series provide evidence that vaccinations do not significantly affect clinical and cognitive evolution of Dravet syndrome and generalized epilepsy with febrile seizure plus patients even if they carry SCN1 A mutations.
    Pediatric Neurology 10/2013; · 1.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To describe the electroclinical features and the long-term outcomes of epilepsy in a large cohort of males and females with Down syndrome who developed epilepsy in childhood. Subjects with Down syndrome and cryptogenic epilepsy with onset in childhood were identified retrospectively from the databases of 16 Italian epilepsy centers over a 40-year period. For each subject, age at onset of seizures, seizure semiology and frequency, electroencephalography characteristics, treatment with antiepileptic drugs, and long-term clinical and electroencephalography outcomes were analyzed. A total of 104 subjects (64 males [61.5%], 40 females [38.5%]) were identified. Seizure onset occurred within 1 year of birth in 54 subjects (51.9%), between 1 and 12 years in 42 subjects (40.4%), and after 12 years in 8 subjects (7.7%). Males had a younger age of seizure onset than females. Of the 104 subjects, 51 (49.0%) had infantile spasms (IS), 35 (33.7%) had partial seizures (PS), and 18 (17.3%) had generalized seizures (GS). Febrile seizures were recorded in 5 (4.8%) subjects. Intractable seizures were observed in 23 (22.1%) subjects, including 5 (9.8%) with IS, 8 (44.4%) with PS, and 10 (31.3%) with GS. Cryptogenic epilepsy in Down syndrome may develop during the first year of life in the form of IS or, successively, as PS or GS. Electroclinical features of IS resemble those of idiopathic West syndrome, with a favorable response to treatment with adrenocorticotropic hormone seen. Patients experiencing PS and GS may be resistant to therapy with antiepileptic drugs.
    The Journal of pediatrics 08/2013; · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the case of a 11-year-old girl who developed an isolated hand-writing disorder with dysgraphia at the beginning of the school year in the sixth grade. A brain magnetic resonance angiography showed a round arteriovenous malformation sited in the left side of the midbrain extending to the ipsilateral medio-basal thalamus. Child neurologists should never neglect a thorough neurological evaluation in case of isolated worsening of handwriting, to rule out possible underlying organic causes.
    Brain & development 08/2013; · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess and characterize a possible neurocognitive endophenotype associated with Rolandic epilepsy (RE), a clinical study was carried out to evaluate the neuropsychological profile of children with RE at onset and of their healthy siblings. Seventeen subjects were recruited (10 boys and 7 girls): nine patients affected by RE and eight siblings who underwent clinical and neuropsychological evaluations. All patients and only two siblings showed centrotemporal spikes on the electroencephalographic recording. Eighteen age- and sex-matched healthy children were assessed as controls. A significant impairment was found in language domain, attentional functioning, and short- and long-term verbal memory in both patients and siblings. A positive correlation between verbal comprehension and working memory scores was found in both groups. A similar neuropsychological profile of RE, which affected patients and their siblings with impairment in the same developing areas, supports the hypothesis of a specific neurocognitive phenotype in RE.
    Epilepsy & Behavior 05/2013; 28(1):108-112. · 1.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: In relatively small series, autosomal dominant lateral temporal epilepsy (ADLTE) has been associated with leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1 (LGI1) mutations in about 50% of the families, this genetic heterogeneity being probably caused by differences in the clinical characteristics of the families. In this article we report the overall clinical and genetic spectrum of ADLTE in Italy with the aim to provide new insight into its nosology and genetic basis. METHODS: In a collaborative study of the Commission of Genetics of the Italian League Against Epilepsy (LICE) encompassing a 10-year period (2000-2010), we collected 33 ADLTE families, selected on the basis of the following criteria: presence of at least two members concordant for unprovoked partial seizures with prominent auditory and or aphasic symptoms, absence of any known structural brain pathology or etiology, and normal neurologic examination. The clinical, neurophysiologic, and neuroradiologic findings of all patients were analyzed and a genealogic tree was built for each pedigree. The probands' DNA was tested for LGI1 mutations by direct sequencing and, if negative, were genotyped with single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array to search for disease-linked copy-number variation CNV. The disease penetrance in mutated and nonmutated families was assessed as a proportion of obligate carriers who were affected. KEY FINDINGS: The 33 families included a total of 127 affected individuals (61 male, 66 female, 22 deceased). The age at onset ranged between 2 and 60 years (mean 18.7 years). Ninety-one patients (72%) had clear-cut focal (elementary, complex, or secondarily generalized) seizures, characterized by prominent auditory auras in 68% of the cases. Other symptoms included complex visual hallucinations, vertigo, and déjà vu. Aphasic seizures, associated or not with auditory features, were observed in 20% of the cases, whereas tonic-clonic seizures occurred in 86% of the overall series. Sudden noises could precipitate the seizures in about 20% of cases. Seizures, which usually occurred at a low frequency, were promptly controlled or markedly improved by antiepileptic treatment in the majority of patients. The interictal electroencephalography (EEG) studies showed the epileptiform temporal abnormalities in 62% of cases, with a slight predominance over the left region. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans were negative. LGI1 mutations (missense in nine and a microdeletion in one) were found in only 10 families (30%). The patients belonging to the mutated and not mutated groups did not differ except for penetrance estimate, which was 61.3% and 35% in the two groups, respectively (chi-square, p = 0.017). In addition, the disease risk of members of families with mutations in LGI1 was three times higher than that of members of LGI1-negative families (odds ratio [OR] 2.94, confidence interval [CI] 1.2-7.21). SIGNIFICANCE: A large number of ADLTE families has been collected over a 10-year period in Italy, showing a typical and homogeneous phenotype. LGI1 mutations have been found in only one third of families, clinically indistinguishable from nonmutated pedigrees. The estimate of penetrance and OR, however, demonstrates a significantly lower penetrance rate and relative disease risk in non-LGI1-mutated families compared with LGI1-mutated pedigrees, suggesting that a complex inheritance pattern may underlie a proportion of these families.
    Epilepsia 04/2013; · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Cornelia de Lange (CdLS) syndrome is characterized by multiple congenital anomalies and mental retardation. Epilepsy is a clinical feature found in about 20% of cases, but there are no data about its electroclinical features and long-term outcome. METHODS: we describe a clinical series of fourteen Caucasian CdLS paediatric patients who developed epilepsy, with special reference to the long term prognosis. RESULTS: Epilepsy manifested between age 0.6 and 16.3 years. The majority of patients (64.3%) presented with partial seizures and interictal EEGs mainly revealed focal epileptic paroxysms involving temporal and parietal areas. Thirteen of 14 children became seizure-free with treatment. Valproate monotherapy was used in eight patients (57.1%), controlling seizures in seven. Otherwise monotherapy with topiramate, levetiracetam, carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine appeared to be effective in controlling seizures in four cases. At the end of the follow-up (age range, 7.3-24.2 years; follow-up, 8.2±3.9 years), thirteen patients were seizure free (three still in therapy), while in one patient seizures were not controlled. CONCLUSIONS: Partial epilepsy is the most common type of epilepsy in CdLS patients. In the majority of cases the prognosis of this epilepsy is favourable and therapy can be withdrawn after few years of complete seizure control.
    Seizure 03/2013; · 2.00 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

933 Citations
227.64 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2014
    • Università degli Studi di Salerno
      • Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Genomics - LabMedMolGe
      Fisciano, Campania, Italy
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2008–2013
    • Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara
      • Pediatric Clinic
      Chieta, Abruzzo, Italy
  • 2002–2013
    • Second University of Naples
      Caserta, Campania, Italy
    • Università degli studi di Cagliari
      Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
  • 2008–2011
    • The Neurosciences Institute
      La Jolla, California, United States
  • 2002–2007
    • University of Naples Federico II
      • • Section of Pharmacology
      • • Department of Neuroscience and Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences
      Napoli, Campania, Italy