[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to define the long-term outcome of absence epilepsy presenting before the age of 3 years.
We retrospectively studied the medical records of 40 children from eight neuropediatric centers in Italy with respect to the personal and family histories of epilepsy or febrile seizures, time of follow-up, cognitive functions, treatment, and outcome.
Forty patients were enrolled in this study. They all fulfilled the criteria for absence epilepsy with 3-Hz spike-wave complexes on the EEG, normal neurological examination, and no other seizures types. Seizure onset occurred between 24.1 and 36.0 months. There was a family history of epilepsy in 28%, and of febrile seizures in 13%. Thirty-three patients were treated with valproic acid (VPA), mostly used in monotherapy (26 patients) or in association with ethosuximide. At final follow-up, 33 patients were seizure free and 29 had normal EEGs. Thirty-four patients had a normal intelligence quotient (IQ), whereas 6 had a decreased IQ, mainly associated with poor control of seizures.
In our series, absence seizures presenting before the age of 3 appeared to have quite a good long-term clinical prognosis; the neuropsychological outcome was comparable to that of childhood epilepsy presenting after 3 years of age.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The KCNAB1 gene is a candidate susceptibility factor for lateral temporal epilepsy (LTE) because of its functional interaction with LGI1, the gene responsible for the autosomal dominant form of LTE. We investigated association between polymorphic variants across the KCNAB1 gene and LTE. The allele and genotype frequencies of 14 KCNAB1 intronic SNPs were determined in 142 Italian LTE patients and 104 healthy controls and statistically evaluated. Single SNP analysis revealed one SNP (rs992353) located near the 3'end of KCNAB1 slightly associated with LTE after multiple testing correction (odds ratio=2.25; 95% confidence interval 1.26-4.04; P=0.0058). Haplotype analysis revealed two haplotypes with frequencies higher in cases than in controls, and these differences were statistically significant after permutation tests (Psim=0.047 and 0.034). One of these haplotypes was shown to confer a high risk for the syndrome (odds ratio=12.24; 95% confidence interval 1.32-113.05) by logistic regression analysis. These results support KCNAB1 as a susceptibility gene for LTE, in agreement with previous studies showing that this gene may alter susceptibility to focal epilepsy.
Epilepsy research 02/2011; 94(1-2):110-6. DOI:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2011.01.010 · 2.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reproductive endocrine dysfunction in women with epilepsy is an important issue, and in recent years there is growing evidence to support the effect on sex hormones of both epilepsy per se and various antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Focal epileptic discharges from the temporal lobe may have a direct influence on the function of the hypothalamic–pituitary axis, thereby altering the release of sex steroid hormones. The role of laterality and severity of epilepsy is still conflicting. The use of the liver enzyme–inducing AEDs—such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, and carbamazepine—can increase serum sex hormone–binding globulin concentrations, leading to diminished bioactivity of testosterone (T) and estradiol. Valproic acid, an enzyme inhibitor, has been associated with the occurrence of reproductive endocrine disorders characterized by high serum T, free androgen index, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate concentrations, and with polycystic changes in ovaries and menstrual disorders. A better understanding of the effects of AEDs on sex hormones is key to selecting the appropriate AEDs and is crucial for reproductive health in female patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The term catamenial epilepsy is used to describe the cyclical occurrence of seizure exacerbations during particular phases of menstrual cycle in women with preexisting epilepsy. Recent investigations have demonstrated the existence of at least three patterns of catamenial seizure exacerbation: perimenstrual and periovulatory in ovulatory cycle and entire luteal phase in anovulatory cycle. Cyclical changes in the circulating levels of estrogens (proconvulsant) and progesterone (anticonvulsant) play a central role in the development of catamenial epilepsy. Also, variations in concentrations of antiepileptic drugs across the menstrual cycle may contribute to increased seizure susceptibility. A variety of approaches have been proposed for the treatment of catamenial epilepsy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This is the first multicenter Italian experience with rufinamide as an adjunctive drug in children, adolescents and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The patients were enrolled in a prospective, add-on, open-label treatment study from 11 Italian centers for children and adolescent epilepsy care. Forty-three patients (26 males, 17 females), aged between 4 and 34 years (mean 15.9 ± 7.3, median 15.0), were treated with rufinamide for a mean period of 12.3 months (range 3-21 months). Twenty patients were diagnosed as cryptogenic and 23 as symptomatic. Rufinamide was added to the baseline therapy at the starting dose of 10mg/kg body weight, evenly divided in two daily doses and then increased by 10mg/kg approximately every 3 days up to a maximum of 1000 mg/day in children aged ≥4 years with a body weight less than 30 kg. In patients more than 30 kg body weight, rufinamide could be titrated up to 3200 mg/day. After a mean follow-up period of 12.3 months (range 3-21 months), the final mean dose of rufinamide was 33.5mg/kg/24h (range 11.5-60) if combined to valproic acid, and of 54.5mg/kg/24h (range 21.8-85.6) without valproic acid. The response rate (≥50% decrease in countable seizures) was 60.5% (26 of 45 patients) in total; 51.1% experienced a 50-99% reduction in seizure frequency and complete seizure control was achieved in the last 4 weeks follow-up by 9.3% of patients. Two patients (4.7%) had a 25-50% seizure reduction, while seizure frequency remained unchanged in 13 (30.2%) and increased in 2 (4.7%). Reliable data for atypical absence seizures and myoclonic seizures were not available, as these are usually impossible to count. Ten patients (23.2%) reported adverse side effects, while taking rufinamide. They were generally mild and transient and most frequently included vomiting, drowsiness, irritability and loss of appetite. In conclusion, rufinamide as an adjunctive therapy reduced the number of drop attacks and major motor seizures in about 60% of patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and produced only mild or moderate adverse side effects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The clinical, electroencephalographic, and genetic findings are reported for three pairs of monozygotic twins who developed infantile spasms in their first year. In all three pairs, the spasms started on the same day in each member of the pair. Neither sequencing of the ARX and CDKL5 (alias STK9) genes nor array comparative genomic hybridization assessment revealed any abnormalities. The long-term outcome was poor in all twins, although with different severity in individual pairs. These findings suggest that genes other than those currently known likely play a role in predisposition to infantile spasms, and that genetic susceptibility is linked to a variable phenotypic expression, ranging from quite benign to very severe, in monozygotic twins with no other apparent risk factors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report an unusual association between idiopathic occipital epilepsy and childhood absence epilepsy in 2 pediatric patients. At first clinical and electroencephalographic evaluation, the patients presented the peculiar signs of idiopathic occipital epilepsy Gastaut type: focal sensory visual seizures, migraine-like symptoms (only in one patient) and unilateral spike-wave discharges over occipital regions. Both children were treated with valproic acid and their seizures were rapidly controlled. After a seizure-free period, the patients presented typical absence with ictal electroencephalographies showing 3 cycles/s generalized and symmetrical spike-wave complexes. We discuss the possible association between these two epileptic syndromes and its common pathophysiological mechanisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite anticonvulsant efficacy in animal models of generalized epilepsy, levetiracetam was not effective in the maximal subcutaneous PTZ model in mice and rats. Aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of levetiracetam (LEV) against submaximal, s.c. MET test (PTZ at the dose of 70 mg/kg) acute seizures in Wistar rats, in comparison to valproic acid (VPA). Thirty male Wistar rats (P42) were divided in three drug-treatment groups (10 rats in each group) as follows: valproic acid, levetiracetam, and controls. All animals were tested for seizure threshold at age P50. VPA (110 mg/kg) and LEV (108 mg/kg) were freshly dissolved in saline and injected i.p. in 2-3 ml/kg, 15 and 30 min, respectively, before pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) injection at the dose of 70 mg/kg. The average latency of the seizure type 3 (generalized clonic seizure with loss of righting reflexes) significantly differed between controls and the drug-treated animal groups (p < or = 0.02). The average duration of the seizure type 2 (threshold seizure) was significantly longer in both groups compared to controls (<0.02). In conclusion, LEV plays a role against seizures triggered by subcutaneous PTZ injection given at submaximal doses in rats, as demonstrated by a significant increase in duration of the seizure type 2 (threshold seizure).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Women with epilepsy have a higher incidence of reproductive endocrine disorders than the general female population. These alterations include polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperandrogenemia, infertility, hypothalamic amenorrhea and hyperprolactinemia. Reproductive dysfunction is attributed both to epilepsy itself and to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Focal epileptic discharges from the temporal lobe may have a direct influence on the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, thus altering the release of sex steroid hormones, including the production of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone and prolactin. AEDs may modulate hormone release from the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and they may alter the metabolism of sex hormones and their binding proteins. Hepatic enzyme-inducing AEDs, such as carbamazepine and phenytoin, may be most clearly linked to altered metabolism of sex steroid hormones, but valproic acid, an enzyme inhibitor, has also been associated with a frequent occurrence of polycystic ovary syndrome and hyperandrogenism in women with epilepsy. Therefore, treatment of epilepsy and selection of AEDs are important for reproductive health in female patients. The aim of the present review is to critically evaluate the recently published data concerning the interactions between sex hormones, epilepsy and AEDs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is increasing evidence suggesting that epilepsy and its treatment can affect bone mineralization and calcium metabolism. Many studies have shown a significant reduction in bone mineral density in patients treated with classic (phenobarbital, carbamazepine, valproate, etc.) and with new (oxcarbazepine, gabapentin) antiepileptic drugs. In spite of data about the possible effects of the antiepileptic drugs on calcium metabolism, the mechanisms of this important side effect remain to be defined. The abnormalities of calcium metabolism were thought to result from the cytochrome P450 enzyme-inducing properties of some antiepileptic drugs and the resultant reduction in vitamin D levels, but the effect of many medications (e.g., valproate) cannot be readily explained by vitamin D metabolism. In this article, the literature related to the effects of classic and new antiepileptic drugs on bone health and calcium metabolism is reviewed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ketogenic diet for the treatment of refractory epileptic encephalopathies has been suggested as an early treatment option in very young children. The aim of the present study was to assess the efficacy and tolerability of the ketogenic diet in children younger than 5 years, all affected by different types of catastrophic childhood encephalopathies. The study group is composed of 38 children (22 males and 16 females), aged between 3 months and 5 years, affected by symptomatic partial epilepsy (6) and cryptogenic-symptomatic epileptic encephalopathies (32). Psychomotor delay-mental retardation was present in all of the patients: mild to moderate (9), severe (7), and profound (22). Cerebral palsy was present in 74% of the cases. Children were started on a 4:1 ketogenic diet as ketocal formula alone or supporting about the 80% of the daily caloric amount. Children poorly complying with ketocal milk were shifted to a classic 4:1 ketogenic diet. The average time (months +/- S.D.) on the diet was 10.3 +/- 7.4. All the children initiating the diet remained on it at 1 month and 35 of them (92%) at 3 months, 28 (73.7%) remained on it at 6 months, and 20 (52.7%) at 1 year. At 12-month follow-up, 11 children (28.9%) had a greater than 50% reduction of seizures and the other 9 (23.7%) were seizure-free. Adverse side effects were recorded in 25 of 38 patients (65.8%), including drowsiness, constipation, weight loss, vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux, fever, and hyperlipidemia. This report confirms that severe epileptic encephalopathies are much suitable for the ketogenic diet.
European journal of paediatric neurology: EJPN: official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society 08/2009; 14(3):229-34. DOI:10.1016/j.ejpn.2009.06.006 · 1.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the presence of metabolic syndrome (MS) in children and adolescents treated with valproate (VPA).
One hundred fourteen patients (54 male and 60 female) were studied. These patients were followed from the beginning of therapy for at least 24 months; at the end of follow-up, 46 patients (40.4%) had a considerable increase in body weight, whereas the other patients (59.6%) remained with the same weight. The MS was defined as having at least three of the following: abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance, and hypertension.
Forty-six patients developed obesity; 20 (43.5%) of 46 patients developed MS. Abnormal glucose homeostasis was identified in 45% of patients. High total serum cholesterol concentrations were noted in 10 (50%), high serum triglyceride concentrations in 7 (35%), and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in 15 (75%) of the 20 subjects with MS. However, there were no significant differences in the features of MS between boys and girls with MS.
Patients who gain weight during VPA therapy can develop MS with a possible risk of cardiovascular disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A retrospective multicentre study was performed to analyse psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) in prepubertal and pubertal patients with idiopathic epilepsy and to determine whether have different clinical characteristics. In this study, we reviewed 36 patients from six neurological referral centres: Department of Pediatrics, Chieti (3 patients); Department of Child Neuropsychiatry, Naples (9 patients); Department of Child Neuropsychiatry, Bologna (8 patients); Department of Neuroscience, Tor Vergata University, Rome (3 patients); Department of Pediatrics, La Sapienza University, Rome (5 patients); and Department of Pediatrics, Siena (8 patients). The population was divided according to Tanner'stages into 14 prepubertal (group I) and 22 pubertal (group II) patients. The two groups were compared on several variables examining the differences between them. The most frequent clinical manifestations in group I were unresponsive events, whereas in group II, motor events were exhibited more significantly. Mood disorders, including major depression, appeared more frequently in pubertal group, but this did not reach a significant difference. Among the psychosocial stressors, fear of rejection and need for attention were the predominant types in the prepubertal patients. The findings of this study reveal some similarities and differences between prepubertal and pubertal patients, which might help to identify predictive factors in patients affected by idiopathic epilepsy who can develop PNES.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The syndrome of malignant migrating partial seizures in infancy was first reported in 1995, and is now included among the childhood epilepsy syndromes in development in the proposal of the revision of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) classification of the epilepsies and epilepsy syndromes. The main clinical features are seizure onset in the first 6 months of life, occurrence of almost continuous migrating polymorphous focal seizures, combined with multifocal ictal electroencephalography (EEG) discharges, and progressive deterioration of psychomotor development. Etiology is so far unknown. Seizures are markedly drug resistant and outcome is generally severe. Based on age at onset, migrating partial seizures in infancy (MMPEI) may be placed between early epileptic encephalopathies (early myoclonic encephalopathy [EME] and early infantile epileptic encephalopathy [EIEE]) and infantile spasms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the video-polygraphic features and the long-term outcome of epilepsy in two patients with startle epilepsy associated with infantile hemiplegia (SEIH).
Two patients (patient 1: a 14-year-old girl; patient 2: a 17 year-and-half-year-old girl), with hemiparesis and moderate mental retardation, underwent a full clinical and neurophysiological examination with video-polygraphic monitoring and recording of startle-evoked seizures. The follow-up was 9 years from epilepsy onset in patient 1, and 8 years from epilepsy onset in patient 2.
Firstly, video-polygraphic recordings of startle-evoked seizures, triggered by unexpected auditory stimuli, showed tonic asymmetrical postures with ictal EEG characterized by an abrupt and diffuse electrodecremental pattern or a seizure discharge predominant over the vertex and anterior regions controlateral to the posturing limbs. Electromyogram recording showed a prevalent involvement of proximal muscles with a concomitant tachycardia and apnoea. In particular, in patient 1 ictal heart rate was high, with persisting tachycardia for 60-120 s after the end of seizures. Secondly, a high seizure frequency persisted throughout the course of the disease, as seizures were medically refractory to all currently available anti-epileptic drugs.
The long-term outcome of epilepsy in SEIH, with constantly high seizure frequency, suggests an early surgical intervention, avoiding years with unsuccessful drug treatments and poor quality of life.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess bone mineral density (BMD) in a large population of children, adolescents, and young adults with epilepsy alone or in association with cerebral palsy and/or mental retardation.
Ninety-six patients were enrolled in the study. The group comprised 50 males and 46 females, aged between 3 and 25 years (mean age 11 years). The control group consisted of 63 healthy children and adolescents (23 males, 40 females), aged between 3 and 25 years (mean age 12.1 years). Patients underwent a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan of the lumbar spine (L1-L4) and the z scores were calculated for each patient; the t score was considered for patients 18 years of age or older.
Abnormal BMD was found in 56 patients (58.3%), with values documenting osteopenia in 42 (75%) and osteoporosis in 14 (25%). A significant difference emerged between epileptic patients and the control group in BMD, z score, and body mass index (BMI) (p = <0.001). Lack of autonomous gait, severe mental retardation, long duration of antiepileptic treatment, topiramate adjunctive therapy, and less physical activity significantly correlated with abnormal BMD.
This study detected abnormal BMD in more than half of a large pediatric population with epilepsy with or without cerebral palsy and/or mental retardation. The clinical significance of these findings has yet to be clarified.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To report on the first multicenter Italian experience with zonisamide as an add-on drug for refractory generalised or partial epilepsy in children, adolescents and young adults.
The patients were enrolled in a prospective, add-on, open-label treatment study from eight Italian centres for children and adolescent epilepsy care. Eighty-two young patients (45 males, 37 females), aged between 3 and 34 years (mean 13.1 years), all affected by partial (47) or generalised (35) refractory epilepsy, were enrolled in the study. ZNS was added to the baseline therapy at a starting dose of 1 mg/kg/day twice daily. This dose was increased by 2 mg/kg every 1-2 weeks over a period of up 3 months, according to the patient's response and tolerability, up to a maximum dose of 12 mg/kg. ZNS was given at the mean daily dose of 5.7/mg/kg/24 h (range 1-12 mg/kg).
After a mean follow-up period of 11.9 months (range 2-64 months), 9 patients (10.9%) were seizure-free. The number of seizures decreased by 50-99% in 31 cases (37.8%), by 25-49% in 5 cases (6.1%), remained the same in 29 cases (35.4%) and increased in 8 cases (9.7%). After 15 months of follow-up, 61 patients (74.4%) were still taking ZNS, while the remaining 21 (25.6%) had stopped. Twenty-two patients (26.8%) reported adverse effects while taking ZNS. They generally appeared during the first weeks of treatment, and were mild to moderate. The most frequent adverse effects were irritability and a reduced appetite.
ZNS effectively reduced seizure frequency in this pediatric population with both partial and generalised crypto/symptomatic refractory epilepsy. Its overall tolerability was good.
Epilepsy research 02/2009; 83(2-3):112-6. DOI:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2008.10.012 · 2.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of levetiracetam therapy in children and adolescents with absence epilepsy. Twenty-one participants (11 male, 10 female) with typical absence seizures were enrolled in this prospective study from seven centres in Italy. The mean age and age range at time of enrollment into the study were 8 years 9 months (SD 0.9) and 5 years 1 month to 13 years respectively. All patients were carefully evaluated at 6 months from baseline, and 12 patients were also re-evaluated at 12 months after the beginning of therapy with levetiracetam. At the 6-month evaluation, out of 21 patients studied, 11 were seizure free and one showed 'decreased' seizures (more than 50% reduction in seizures). A less than 50% reduction in seizures was observed in nine patients. At the 12-month evaluation, 10 patients were completely seizure free and two were seizure free with some anomalies in electroencephalograms. Two patients who had shown no improvement at 6 months had decreased seizures at the second follow-up. Our results suggest that monotherapy with levetiracetam could be effective and well tolerated in patients with childhood absence epilepsy and juvenile absence epilepsy. Prospective, large, long-term double-blind studies are needed to confirm these findings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the LGI1 gene are linked to autosomal dominant lateral temporal epilepsy (ADTLE) in about half of the families tested, suggesting that ADLTE is genetically heterogeneous. Recently, the Lgi1 protein has been found associated with different protein complexes and two distinct molecular mechanisms possibly underlying ADLTE have been hypothesized: the one recognizes Lgi1 as a novel subunit of the presynaptic Kv1 potassium channel implicated in the regulation of channel inactivation, the other suggests that Lgi1 acts as a ligand that selectively binds to the postsynaptic receptor ADAM22, thereby regulating the glutamate-AMPA neurotransmission. Both mechanisms imply that LGI1 mutations result in alteration of synaptic currents, though of different types. Since their protein products have been found associated with Lgi1, the Kv1 channel subunit genes KCNA1, KCNA4, and KCNAB1 and ADAM22 can be considered strong candidates for ADLTE. We sequenced their coding exons and flanking splice sites in the probands of 9 carefully ascertained ADLTE families negative for LGI1 mutations. We failed to detect any mutation segregating with the disease, but identified several previously unreported polymorphisms. An association study of four non-synonymous variants (three found in ADAM22, one in KCNA4) in a population of 104 non-familial lateral temporal epilepsy cases did not show any modification of susceptibility to this disorder. Altogether, our results suggest that neither ADAM22 nor any of the three Kv1 channel genes are major causative genes for ADLTE.
Epilepsy Research 08/2008; 80(1):1-8. DOI:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2008.03.001 · 2.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal dominant lateral temporal epilepsy (ADTLE) is a genetically transmitted epileptic syndrome characterized by focal seizures with predominant auditory symptoms likely originating from the lateral region of the temporal lobe. Mutations in coding region or exon splice sites of the leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1 (LGI1) gene account for about 50% of ADLTE families. De novo LGI1 mutations of the same kind have also been found in about 2.5% of non-familial cases with idiopathic partial epilepsy with auditory features (IPEAF). In both conditions, mutations in the LGI1 promoter region have not been reported. We sequenced the minimal promoter region of LGI1 in the probands of 16 ADLTE families and in 104 sporadic IPEAF patients and no mutations clearly linked to the disease were found. However, two polymorphisms, -500G>A and -507G>A, with potential functional implications were identified and analysed in the cohort of sporadic IPEAF patients but their frequencies did not differ from those found in a control population of similar age, gender and geographic origin. We also analysed in our study population the GABA(B) receptor 1 c.1465G>A and the prodynorphin promoter 68-bp repeat polymorphisms, previously associated with temporal lobe epilepsy. None of these polymorphisms showed a significant association with IPEAF, whereas a tendency towards association with the prodynorphin low expression (L) alleles was found in the small group of ADLTE index cases, in agreement with previous studies suggesting that this polymorphism is a susceptibility factor in familial forms of temporal lobe epilepsy.