Publications by authors named "Giuseppe Capovilla"

97 Publications

Epilepsy in "Sunflower syndrome": electroclinical features, therapeutic response, and long-term follow-up.

Seizure 2021 Dec 2;93:8-12. Epub 2021 Oct 2.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Perugia, Italy.

Background: Sunflower syndrome (SFS) is a rare childhood-onset generalized epilepsy characterized by photosensitivity, heliotropism, and drug-resistant stereotyped seizures maybe self-induced by hand-waving maneuvers. Data on the long-term prognosis are scantly and evidence over best treatment strategies is lacking.

Methods: We retrospectively describe the electroclinical features, and therapeutic response in a group of 21 patients with SFS, without intellectual disability.

Results: 16 patients were female (67%), with a median age at onset of 7 years. In all patients, ictal episodes began with sun-staring, and hand-waving in front of the sunlight, accompanied by brief typical absence seizures. 17 patients (81%) showed interictal EEG abnormalities, mainly characterized by spike and polyspike-and-wave discharges. Ictal epileptiform activity occurred approximately less than one second after the start of hand-waving. At the last follow-up (median length 8.2 years), 12 patients (57%) were drug-resistant. Nine of them (75%) achieved seizure control with the use of tainted lenses, either alone or compared with anti-seizure medications (ASM). Disappearance of seizures was associated with EEG improvement/normalization when tinted glasses were used during EEG recordings.

Conclusion: While the clinical and EEG characteristics of SFS are well defined, the best therapeutic approaches are still under debate. Our data confirms a high rate of drug-resistance and frequent need of polytherapy. Of note, in drug-resistant patients, lenses (but not ASM) were able to suppress PPR in our patients while wearing lenses. Regarding the role of lenses, we do not only rely on the PPR reduction but also clinically by the reduction of seizures. Although additional data are needed, lenses seem to have a powerful potential role for the management of SFS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2021.09.021DOI Listing
December 2021

Defining Satisfactory Methods of Treatment in Rare Diseases When Evaluating Significant Benefit-The EU Regulator's Perspective.

Front Med (Lausanne) 2021 27;8:744625. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Committee of Orphan Medicinal Products, European Medicines Agency, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Since the implementation of the EU Orphan Regulation in 2000, the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products at the European Medicines Agency has been evaluating the benefits of proposed orphan medicines vs. satisfactory treatment methods. This type of evaluation is foreseen in the Orphan Regulation as the orphan designation criterion called the "significant benefit." In this article, based on 20 years of experience, we provide a commentary explaining what is considered a satisfactory method of treatment in the context of the EU Orphan Regulation and for the purpose of the assessment of significant benefit. We discuss the challenges posed by continuously changing clinical practise, which is associated with the increasing number of treatment options, evolving nature of medicinal therapeutic indications and our understanding of them.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.744625DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8429787PMC
August 2021

Genotype-phenotype correlations in patients with de novo pathogenic variants.

Neurol Genet 2020 Dec 30;6(6):e528. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Neurosciences (F. Malerba, G.B., E.A., A. Riva, V.S., L.N., C. Minetti, F.Z., P.S.), Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, Università degli Studi di Genova; Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit (F. Malerba, G.B., F. Marchese, E.A., A. Riva, M.S.V., V.S., C. Minetti, P.S.), IRCCS Istituto G. Gaslini; Center for Synaptic Neuroscience and Technology ([email protected]) (G.A., L.M., F.B.), Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia; Department of Experimental Medicine (G.A.), Università degli Studi di Genova; Laboratory of Human Genetics (E.G.); Unit of Medical Genetics (F. Madia, F.Z.), IRCCS Istituto G. Gaslini, Genova, Italy; Child Neurology and Neurorehabilitation Unit (M.A.), Department of Pediatrics, Central Hospital of Bolzano, Bolzano; Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit (L.G., P.A., P.M.), ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia; Neurology Unit (M. Trivisano, N.S.), Department of Neuroscience, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Roma; Child Neurology Unit (A. Russo, G.G.), IRCCS, Institute of Neurological Sciences of Bologna; Child Neuropsychiatry Unit (F.R.), U.O.N.P.I.A. ASST-Rhodense, Rho, Milano; Neurology Unit and Laboratories (T.P.), A. Meyer Children's Hospital, Firenze; Child Neurology and Psychiatric Unit (C. Marini), Pediatric Hospital G. Salesi, United Hospital of Ancona; Child Neuropsychiatry Unit (M.M.M., L.N.), IRCCS Istituto G. Gaslini, Genova; Department of Pediatric Neuroscience (E.F.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta; Unit of Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases (B. Castellotti), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milano; Department of Child Neuropsychiatry (G.C.), Epilepsy Center, C. Poma Hospital, Mantova; Fondazione Poliambulanza Brescia (G.C.); Epilepsy Center (A.C.), Department of Neuroscience, Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Napoli; Department of Pediatrics (A.V.), University of Perugia; Section of Pharmacology (F. Miceli, M. Taglialatela), Department of Neuroscience, Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Napoli; IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino (L.M., F.B.), Genova, Italy; Division of Pediatric Neurology (M.R.C.), Saint-Luc University Hospital, and Institute of Experimental and Clinical Research (IREC), Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium; Department of Epilepsy Genetics and Personalized Treatment (K.M.J., R.S.M.), The Danish Epilepsy Center Filadelfia, Dianalund, Denmark; Institute for Regional Health Services (K.M.J., R.S.M.), University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; Department of Neurology (B. Ceulemans, S.W.), University Hospital Antwerp; Applied & Translational Neurogenomics Group (S.W.), VIB-Center for Molecular Neurology; Laboratory of Neurogenetics (S.W.), Institute Born-Bunge, University of Antwerp, Belgium; and Department of Life and Environmental Sciences (L.M.), Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy.

Objective: Early identification of de novo variants in patients with epilepsy raises prognostic issues toward optimal management. We analyzed the clinical and genetic information from a cohort of patients with de novo pathogenic variants to dissect genotype-phenotype correlations.

Methods: Patients with de novo pathogenic variants were identified from Italy, Denmark, and Belgium. Atomic resolution Kv7.2 structures were also generated using homology modeling to map the variants.

Results: We included 34 patients with a mean age of 4.7 years. Median seizure onset was 2 days, mainly with focal seizures with autonomic signs. Twenty-two patients (65%) were seizure free at the mean age of 1.2 years. More than half of the patients (17/32) displayed severe/profound intellectual disability; however, 4 (13%) of them had a normal cognitive outcome.A total of 28 de novo pathogenic variants were identified, most missense (25/28), and clustered in conserved regions of the protein; 6 variants recurred, and 7 were novel. We did not identify a relationship between variant position and seizure offset or cognitive outcome in patients harboring missense variants. Besides, recurrent variants were associated with overlapping epilepsy features but also variable evolution regarding the intellectual outcome.

Conclusions: We highlight the complexity of variant interpretation to assess the impact of a class of de novo mutations. Genetic modifiers could be implicated, but the study paradigms to successfully address the impact of each single mutation need to be developed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXG.0000000000000528DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803337PMC
December 2020

Appropriate use of generic and branded antiseizure medications in epilepsy: Updated recommendations from the Italian League Against Epilepsy (LICE).

Epilepsy Behav 2021 03 10;116:107804. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Science of Health Department, School of Medicine, University of Catanzaro, Italy. Electronic address:

Generic drugs are increasingly used to treat many diseases including epilepsy. The growing importance of generic antiseizure medications (ASMs) has led the ASMs commission of the Italian League Against Epilepsy (LICE) to review current evidence in the literature about efficacy and safety of these products. Recommendations from other scientific organizations have also been considered to provide an update of the LICE position about their utilization (List of Recommendations). Compared with the previous literature review, randomized controlled trials assessing bioequivalence among branded drugs and generics are currently available. Although some contrasting results have been reported, brand-to-generic switching was effective and tolerable in real-life settings, with similar adverse event ratios. Based on these findings, LICE concluded that, conforming to the rigorous regulation of USA and EU markets, generic ASMs are not inferior to the respective branded, providing a cost advantage for patients starting or replacing monotherapy or add-on, and for those with incomplete seizure control. Branded-to-generic (and vice versa) switching is not recommended (although applicable) during seizure remission, as well as the generic-to-other generic switching. Other recommendations focus on the appropriateness of therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) when switching is required, paying attention to avoiding the erroneous switch between modified and immediate-release formulations during dispensation. Finally, to support patients' compliance, they should be assured of generics' safety and efficacy and carefully informed with practical advice, particularly when the switching is associated with aspect modifications (e.g. color and shape changes) of the pill or the packaging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.107804DOI Listing
March 2021

Relationship between saliva and plasma rufinamide concentrations in patients with epilepsy.

Epilepsia 2020 07 20;61(7):e79-e84. Epub 2020 Jun 20.

Division of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology, Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

The assay of saliva samples provides a valuable alternative to the use of blood samples for therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), at least for certain categories of patients. To determine the feasibility of using saliva sampling for the TDM of rufinamide, we compared rufinamide concentrations in paired samples of saliva and plasma collected from 26 patients with epilepsy at steady state. Within-patient relationships between plasma rufinamide concentrations and dose, and the influence of comedication were also investigated. Assay results in the two tested fluids showed a good correlation (r  = .78, P < .0001), but concentrations in saliva were moderately lower than those in plasma (mean saliva to plasma ratio = 0.7 ± 0.2). In eight patients evaluated at three different dose levels, plasma rufinamide concentrations increased linearly with increasing dose. Patients receiving valproic acid comedication had higher dose-normalized plasma rufinamide levels than patients comedicated with drugs devoid of strong enzyme-inducing or enzyme-inhibiting activity. Overall, these findings indicate that use of saliva represents a feasible option for the application of TDM in patients treated with rufinamide. Because rufinamide concentrations are lower in saliva than in plasma, a correction factor is needed if measurements made in saliva are used as a surrogate for plasma concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16584DOI Listing
July 2020

Pearls & Oy-sters: Focal hypocalcemic seizures secondary to severe vitamin D deficiency/rickets.

Neurology 2020 09 16;95(12):e1764-e1765. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

From the Neuropsychiatry Department (R.M., F. Beccaria, F. Boscaini, B.F., G.C.), ASST Mantova; and Fondazione Poliambulanza Brescia (G.C.), Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000009837DOI Listing
September 2020

Reply to the reply of the authors of the review article entitled "Management of status epilepticus in adults. Position paper of the Italian League against Epilepsy".

Epilepsy Behav 2020 09 5;110:107168. Epub 2020 Jun 5.

Centro Nazionale Valutazione Preclinica e Clinica dei Farmaci, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107168DOI Listing
September 2020

Reply to the article "Management of status epilepticus in adults. Position paper of the Italian League against Epilepsy".

Epilepsy Behav 2020 06 23;107:106866. Epub 2020 Jan 23.

Centro Nazionale Valutazione Preclinica e Clinica dei Farmaci, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2019.106866DOI Listing
June 2020

Nonclinical data supporting orphan medicinal product designations in the area of rare infectious diseases.

Drug Discov Today 2020 02 5;25(2):274-291. Epub 2019 Nov 5.

Committee of Orphan Medicinal Products, European Medicines Agency, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Medicines Evaluation Board, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

This review provides an overview of nonclinical in vivo models that can be used to support orphan designation in selected rare infectious diseases in Europe, with the aim to inform and stimulate the planning of nonclinical development in this area of often neglected diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2019.10.015DOI Listing
February 2020

Management of epilepsy in brain tumors.

Neurol Sci 2019 Oct 7;40(10):2217-2234. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

Neurophysiology Unit, Department of Neurology-University "La Sapienza", S. Andrea Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Epilepsy in brain tumors (BTE) may require medical attention for a variety of unique concerns: epileptic seizures, possible serious adverse effects of antineoplastic and antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), physical disability, and/or neurocognitive disturbances correlated to tumor site. Guidelines for the management of tumor-related epilepsies are lacking. Treatment is not standardized, and overall management might differ according to different specialists. The aim of this document was to provide directives on the procedures to be adopted for a correct diagnostic-therapeutic path of the patient with BTE, evaluating indications, risks, and benefits. A board comprising neurologists, epileptologists, neurophysiologists, neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, neuropsychologists, and patients' representatives was formed. The board converted diagnostic and therapeutic problems into seventeen questions. A literature search was performed in September-October 2017, and a total of 7827 unique records were retrieved, of which 148 constituted the core literature. There is no evidence that histological type or localization of the brain tumor affects the response to an AED. The board recommended to avoid enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs because of their interference with antitumoral drugs and consider as first-choice newer generation drugs (among them, levetiracetam, lamotrigine, and topiramate). Valproic acid should also be considered. Both short-term and long-term prophylaxes are not recommended in primary and metastatic brain tumors. Management of seizures in patients with BTE should be multidisciplinary. The panel evidenced conflicting or lacking data regarding the role of EEG, the choice of therapeutic strategy, and timing to withdraw AEDs and recommended high-quality long-term studies to standardize BTE care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-019-04025-9DOI Listing
October 2019

Influence of etiology on treatment choices for neonatal seizures: A survey among pediatric neurologists.

Brain Dev 2019 Aug 4;41(7):595-599. Epub 2019 Apr 4.

Pediatric Neurology and Epileptology Unit, Brotzu Hospital Trust, Cagliari, Italy.

Background: A targeted treatment approach is increasingly promoted in epilepsy management.

Aim: To investigate if etiology (both established or initially presumed) influences antiepileptic drug choice of experts in neonatal seizures.

Methods: An invitation to participate to a web-based questionnaire was sent to Italian pediatric neurologists affiliated to the Italian Society of Pediatric Neurology (SINP).

Results: 19 pediatric neurologists from different centers, all consultants of third level Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) answered. As first-line drug phenobarbital was the most common choice, it was used in 79% of cases of acute symptomatic seizures, in 63% of structural epilepsy, in 42% of genetic epilepsies. As second-line drug phenytoin was used by 58% in acute symptomatic seizures, 37% in structural epilepsy, 5% in genetic epilepsy. Pyridoxine/pyridoxalphosphate was much more used in genetic epilepsy (as first-line in 26%, as second-line in 37%) than in the other two conditions. Long-term conventional EEG monitoring was suggested as important to verify efficacy of drugs in controlling seizures by 84% of interviewed neurologists, but EEG was available around the clock in only 53% of their centers. 1 to 3-channel aEEG/EEG (commonly named CFM) was often used instead of conventional EEG monitoring.

Conclusion: This is the first survey looking at a targeted approach in treatment of neonatal seizures by pediatric neurologists consulted by NICUs. The treatment approach is similar to previous surveys in case of acute symptomatic seizures, but in case of other etiologies the choices are different, especially for the second-line option. Larger studies should address this topic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.braindev.2019.03.012DOI Listing
August 2019

Electroclinical features of epilepsy monosomy 1p36 syndrome and their implications.

Acta Neurol Scand 2018 Dec 14;138(6):523-530. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, 'G. Gaslini' Institute, University of Genoa, Genova, Italy.

Objectivies: Monosomy 1p36 syndrome is a recognized syndrome with multiple congenital anomalies; medical problems of this syndrome include developmental delay, facial dysmorphisms, hearing loss, short stature, brain anomalies, congenital heart defects. Epilepsy can be another feature but there are few data about the types of seizures and long term prognosis. The aim of this work was to analyse the electroclinical phenotype and the long-term outcome in patients with monosomy 1p36 syndrome and epilepsy.

Materials And Methods: Data of 22 patients with monosomy 1p36 syndrome and epilepsy were reconstructed by reviewing medical records. For each patient we analysed age at time of diagnosis, first signs of the syndrome, age at seizure onset, seizure type and its frequency, EEG and neuroimaging findings, the response to antiepileptic drugs treatment and clinical outcome up to the last follow-up assessment.

Results: Infantile Spasm (IS) represents the most frequent type at epilepsy onset, which occurs in 36.4% of children, and a half of these were associated with hypsarrhythmic electroencephalogram. All patients with IS had persistence of seizures, unlike other patients with different seizures onset. Children with abnormal brain neuroimaging have a greater chance to develop pharmacoresistant epilepsy.

Conclusion: This syndrome represents a significant cause of IS: these patients, who develop IS, can suffer from pharmacoresistent epilepsy, that is more frequent in children with brain abnormalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ane.13006DOI Listing
December 2018

Effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on action myoclonus: A pilot study in patients with EPM1.

Epilepsy Behav 2018 03 3;80:33-36. Epub 2018 Feb 3.

Neurophysiopathology and Epilepsy Centre Unit, IRCCS Foundation Carlo Besta Neurological Institute, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the short-term effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on action myoclonus.

Methods: Nine patients with Unverricht-Lundborg (EPM1) progressive myoclonus epilepsy type underwent two series of 500 stimuli at 0.3Hz through round coil twice a day for five consecutive days. Clinical and neurophysiological examinations were performed two hours before starting the first rTMS session and two hours after the end of the last rTMS session.

Results: Eight patients completed the protocol; one discontinued because of a transient increase in spontaneous jerks. The unified myoclonus rating scale indicated a 25% reduction in posttreatment myoclonus with action score associated with an increase in the cortical motor threshold and lengthening of the cortical silent period (CSP). The decrease in the myoclonus with action scores correlated with the prolongation of CSP.

Conclusions: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation can be safely used in patients with EPM1, improves action myoclonus, and partially restores deficient cortical inhibition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2017.11.031DOI Listing
March 2018

Pyridoxine-dependent epilepsies: an observational study on clinical, diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic features in a pediatric cohort.

Metab Brain Dis 2018 02 25;33(1):261-269. Epub 2017 Nov 25.

General Pediatrics and Pediatric Acute and Emergency Unit, Policlinico-Vittorio-Emanuele University Hospital, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.

The aim of our study was to describe the clinical, electroencephalogram, molecular findings and the diagnostic and therapeutic flow-chart of children with pyridoxine-dependent epilepsies (PDEs). We performed a retrospective observational study on children with PDEs, diagnosed and followed-up in Italian Pediatric Departments. In each centre, the authors collected data from a cohort of children admitted for intractable seizures, responsive to pyridoxine administration and resistant to other anticonvulsant therapies. Data were retrospectively analysed from January 2016 to January 2017. Sixteen patients (13 males, and 3 females) were included. We found that 93.75% of patients underwent conventional anticonvulsant therapy before starting pyridoxine administration and 62.5% had ex-juvantibus diagnosis, as specific serum diagnostic tests had been performed in only 37.5% of patients by alpha-AASA and pipecolic acid blood and urine dosage. The most common type of seizure was generalized tonic-clonic in 7 patients and the most common EEG pattern was characterized by a "burst suppression" pattern. Before pyridoxine administration, other anticonvulsant drugs were used in 93.75% of patients, with consequent onset of drug-resistance. Phenobarbital was the most frequently used drug as first-line treatment. The importance of our study relies on the need of a deeper knowledge of PDEs in terms of early diagnosis, avoiding incorrect treatment and related adverse events, clinical and EEG pathognomonic features, and genetic aspects of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11011-017-0150-xDOI Listing
February 2018

Rare GABRA3 variants are associated with epileptic seizures, encephalopathy and dysmorphic features.

Brain 2017 Nov;140(11):2879-2894

Department of Neurology and Epileptology, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Genetic epilepsies are caused by mutations in a range of different genes, many of them encoding ion channels, receptors or transporters. While the number of detected variants and genes increased dramatically in the recent years, pleiotropic effects have also been recognized, revealing that clinical syndromes with various degrees of severity arise from a single gene, a single mutation, or from different mutations showing similar functional defects. Accordingly, several genes coding for GABAA receptor subunits have been linked to a spectrum of benign to severe epileptic disorders and it was shown that a loss of function presents the major correlated pathomechanism. Here, we identified six variants in GABRA3 encoding the α3-subunit of the GABAA receptor. This gene is located on chromosome Xq28 and has not been previously associated with human disease. Five missense variants and one microduplication were detected in four families and two sporadic cases presenting with a range of epileptic seizure types, a varying degree of intellectual disability and developmental delay, sometimes with dysmorphic features or nystagmus. The variants co-segregated mostly but not completely with the phenotype in the families, indicating in some cases incomplete penetrance, involvement of other genes, or presence of phenocopies. Overall, males were more severely affected and there were three asymptomatic female mutation carriers compared to only one male without a clinical phenotype. X-chromosome inactivation studies could not explain the phenotypic variability in females. Three detected missense variants are localized in the extracellular GABA-binding NH2-terminus, one in the M2-M3 linker and one in the M4 transmembrane segment of the α3-subunit. Functional studies in Xenopus laevis oocytes revealed a variable but significant reduction of GABA-evoked anion currents for all mutants compared to wild-type receptors. The degree of current reduction correlated partially with the phenotype. The microduplication disrupted GABRA3 expression in fibroblasts of the affected patient. In summary, our results reveal that rare loss-of-function variants in GABRA3 increase the risk for a varying combination of epilepsy, intellectual disability/developmental delay and dysmorphic features, presenting in some pedigrees with an X-linked inheritance pattern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awx236DOI Listing
November 2017

Nonclinical data supporting orphan medicinal product designations: lessons from rare neurological conditions.

Drug Discov Today 2018 01 4;23(1):26-48. Epub 2017 Oct 4.

Committee of Orphan Medicinal Products, European Medicines Agency, London, UK; Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Farmácia, Lisbon, Portugal.

Here, we provide an in-depth literature and experience-based review of nonclinical models and data used to support orphan medicinal product designations (OMPDs) in rare neurodegenerative conditions. The Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) of the European Medicines Agency updates its assessment processes based on scientific progress and aims to provide transparent criteria required in support of OMPDs. Thus, we also provide an updated analysis of existing nonclinical models in selected conditions and identify key features of nonclinical studies that are crucial for the support of OMPDs. This could not only inform future drug development in rare neurological conditions, but also indicate areas where the use of nonclinical models can be made more efficient.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2017.09.015DOI Listing
January 2018

ILAE classification of the epilepsies: Position paper of the ILAE Commission for Classification and Terminology.

Epilepsia 2017 04 8;58(4):512-521. Epub 2017 Mar 8.

Paediatric Neurosciences Research Group, Fraser of Allander Neurosciences Unit, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Classification of the Epilepsies has been updated to reflect our gain in understanding of the epilepsies and their underlying mechanisms following the major scientific advances that have taken place since the last ratified classification in 1989. As a critical tool for the practicing clinician, epilepsy classification must be relevant and dynamic to changes in thinking, yet robust and translatable to all areas of the globe. Its primary purpose is for diagnosis of patients, but it is also critical for epilepsy research, development of antiepileptic therapies, and communication around the world. The new classification originates from a draft document submitted for public comments in 2013, which was revised to incorporate extensive feedback from the international epilepsy community over several rounds of consultation. It presents three levels, starting with seizure type, where it assumes that the patient is having epileptic seizures as defined by the new 2017 ILAE Seizure Classification. After diagnosis of the seizure type, the next step is diagnosis of epilepsy type, including focal epilepsy, generalized epilepsy, combined generalized, and focal epilepsy, and also an unknown epilepsy group. The third level is that of epilepsy syndrome, where a specific syndromic diagnosis can be made. The new classification incorporates etiology along each stage, emphasizing the need to consider etiology at each step of diagnosis, as it often carries significant treatment implications. Etiology is broken into six subgroups, selected because of their potential therapeutic consequences. New terminology is introduced such as developmental and epileptic encephalopathy. The term benign is replaced by the terms self-limited and pharmacoresponsive, to be used where appropriate. It is hoped that this new framework will assist in improving epilepsy care and research in the 21st century.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.13709DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5386840PMC
April 2017

Symptomatic and presumed symptomatic focal epilepsies in childhood: An observational, prospective multicentre study.

Epilepsia 2016 11 20;57(11):1808-1816. Epub 2016 Oct 20.

Pediatric Neurology Unit, V. Buzzi Hospital, A.O. ICP, Milan, Italy.

Objective: To describe the clinical, neuropsychological, and psychopathologic features of a cohort of children with a new diagnosis of symptomatic or presumed symptomatic focal epilepsy at time of recruitment and through the first month. The selected population will be followed for 2-5 years after enrollment to investigate the epilepsy course and identify early predictors of drug resistance.

Methods: In this observational, multicenter, nationwide study, children (age 1 month-12.9 years) with a new diagnosis of symptomatic or presumed symptomatic focal epilepsy were consecutively enrolled in 15 Italian tertiary childhood epilepsy centers. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) diagnosis of symptomatic focal epilepsy due to acquired and developmental etiologies, and presumed symptomatic focal epilepsy; (2) age at diagnosis older than 1 month and <13 years; and (3) written informed consent. Children were subdivided into three groups: ≤3 years, >3 to 6 years, and >6 years. Clinical, electroencephalography (EEG), neuroimaging, and neuropsychological variables were identified for statistical analyses.

Results: Two hundred fifty-nine children were enrolled (116 female and 143 male). Median age: 4.4 years (range 1 month-12.9 years); 46.0% (n = 119) of children were younger than 3 years, 24% (61) from 3 to 6 years of age, and 30% (79) older than 6 years. Neurologic examination findings were normal in 71.8%. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was abnormal in 59.9%. Children age ≤3 years experienced the highest seizure frequency in the first month after recruitment (p < 0.0001). Monotherapy in the first month was used in 67.2%. Cognitive tests at baseline revealed abnormal scores in 30%; behavioral problems were present in 21%. At multivariate analysis, higher chances to exhibit more than five seizures in the first month after epilepsy onset was confirmed for younger children and those with temporal lobe epilepsy.

Significance: In this prospective cohort study, an extensive characterization of epilepsy onset in children with symptomatic or presumed symptomatic focal epilepsies is reported in relation to the age group and the localization of the epileptogenic zone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.13574DOI Listing
November 2016

Idiopathic focal epilepsies: the "lost tribe".

Epileptic Disord 2016 Sep;18(3):252-88

GSTT, Clin Neurophysiology and Epilepsies, Lambeth Wing, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.

The term idiopathic focal epilepsies of childhood (IFE) is not formally recognised by the ILAE in its 2010 revision (Berg et al., 2010), nor are its members and boundaries precisely delineated. The IFEs are amongst the most commonly encountered epilepsy syndromes affecting children. They are fascinating disorders that hold many "treats" for both clinicians and researchers. For example, the IFEs pose many of the most interesting questions central to epileptology: how are functional brain networks involved in the manifestation of epilepsy? What are the shared mechanisms of comorbidity between epilepsy and neurodevelopmental disorders? How do focal EEG discharges impact cognitive functioning? What explains the age-related expression of these syndromes? Why are EEG discharges and seizures so tightly locked to slow-wave sleep? In the last few decades, the clinical symptomatology and the respective courses of many IFEs have been described, although they are still not widely appreciated beyond the specialist community. Most neurologists would recognise the core syndromes of IFE to comprise: benign epilepsy of childhood with centro-temporal spikes or Rolandic epilepsy (BECTS/RE); Panayiotopoulos syndrome; and the idiopathic occipital epilepsies (Gastaut and photosensitive types). The Landau-Kleffner syndrome and the related (idiopathic) epilepsy with continuous spikes and waves in sleep (CSWS or ESES) are also often included, both as a consequence of the shared morphology of the interictal discharges and their potential evolution from core syndromes, for example, CSWS from BECTS. Atypical benign focal epilepsy of childhood also has shared electro-clinical features warranting inclusion. In addition, a number of less well-defined syndromes of IFE have been proposed, including benign childhood seizures with affective symptoms, benign childhood epilepsy with parietal spikes, benign childhood seizures with frontal or midline spikes, and benign focal seizures of adolescence. The term "benign" is often used in connection with the IFEs and is increasingly being challenged. Certainly most of these disorders are not associated with the devastating cognitive and behavioural problems seen with early childhood epileptic encephalopathies, such as West or Dravet syndromes. However, it is clear that specific, and sometimes persistent, neuropsychological deficits in attention, language and literacy accompany many of the IFEs that, when multiplied by the large numbers affected, make up a significant public health problem. Understanding the nature, distribution, evolution, risk and management of these is an important area of current research. A corollary to such questions regarding comorbidities is the role of focal interictal spikes and their enduring impact on cognitive functioning. What explains the paradox that epilepsies characterised by abundant interictal epileptiform abnormalities are often associated with very few clinical seizures? This is an exciting area in both clinical and experimental arenas and will eventually have important implications for clinical management of the whole child, taking into account not just seizures, but also adaptive functioning and quality of life. For several decades, we have accepted an evidence-free approach to using or not using antiepileptic drugs in IFEs. There is huge international variation and only a handful of studies examining neurocognitive outcomes. Clearly, this is a situation ready for an overhaul in practice. Fundamental to understanding treatment is knowledge of aetiology. In recent years, there have been several significant discoveries in IFEs from studies of copy number variation, exome sequencing, and linkage that prompt reconsideration of the "unknown cause" classification and strongly suggest a genetic aetiology. The IFE are strongly age-related, both with regards to age of seizure onset and remission. Does this time window solely relate to a similar age-related gene expression, or are there epigenetic factors involved that might also explain low observed twin concordance? The genetic (and epigenetic) models for different IFEs, their comorbidities, and their similarities to other neurodevelopmental disorders deserve investigation in the coming years. In so doing, we will probably learn much about normal brain functioning. This is because these disorders, perhaps more than any other human brain disease, are disorders of functional brain systems (even though these functional networks may not yet be fully defined). In June 2012, an international group of clinical and basic science researchers met in London under the auspices of the Waterloo Foundation to discuss and debate these issues in relation to IFEs. This Waterloo Foundation Symposium on the Idiopathic Focal Epilepsies: Phenotype to Genotype witnessed presentations that explored the clinical phenomenology, phenotypes and endophenotypes, and genetic approaches to investigation of these disorders. In parallel, the impact of these epilepsies on children and their families was reviewed. The papers in this supplement are based upon these presentations. They represent an updated state-of-the-art thinking on the topics explored. The symposium led to the formation of international working groups under the umbrella of "Luke's Idiopathic Focal Epilepsy Project" to investigate various aspects of the idiopathic focal epilepsies including: semiology and classification, genetics, cognition, sleep, high-frequency oscillations, and parental resources (see www.childhood-epilepsy.org). The next sponsored international workshop, in June 2014, was on randomised controlled trials in IFEs and overnight learning outcome measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1684/epd.2016.0839DOI Listing
September 2016

STXBP1 encephalopathy: A neurodevelopmental disorder including epilepsy.

Neurology 2016 Mar 10;86(10):954-62. Epub 2016 Feb 10.

Authors' affiliations are listed at the end of the article.

Objective: To give a comprehensive overview of the phenotypic and genetic spectrum of STXBP1 encephalopathy (STXBP1-E) by systematically reviewing newly diagnosed and previously reported patients.

Methods: We recruited newly diagnosed patients with STXBP1 mutations through an international network of clinicians and geneticists. Furthermore, we performed a systematic literature search to review the phenotypes of all previously reported patients.

Results: We describe the phenotypic features of 147 patients with STXBP1-E including 45 previously unreported patients with 33 novel STXBP1 mutations. All patients have intellectual disability (ID), which is mostly severe to profound (88%). Ninety-five percent of patients have epilepsy. While one-third of patients presented with Ohtahara syndrome (21%) or West syndrome (9.5%), the majority has a nonsyndromic early-onset epilepsy and encephalopathy (53%) with epileptic spasms or tonic seizures as main seizure type. We found no correlation between severity of seizures and severity of ID or between mutation type and seizure characteristics or cognitive outcome. Neurologic comorbidities including autistic features and movement disorders are frequent. We also report 2 previously unreported adult patients with prominent extrapyramidal features.

Conclusion: De novo STXBP1 mutations are among the most frequent causes of epilepsy and encephalopathy. Most patients have severe to profound ID with little correlation among seizure onset, seizure severity, and the degree of ID. Accordingly, we hypothesize that seizure severity and ID present 2 independent dimensions of the STXBP1-E phenotype. STXBP1-E may be conceptualized as a complex neurodevelopmental disorder rather than a primary epileptic encephalopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000002457DOI Listing
March 2016

Epilepsy, seizures, physical exercise, and sports: A report from the ILAE Task Force on Sports and Epilepsy.

Epilepsia 2016 Jan 10;57(1):6-12. Epub 2015 Dec 10.

Department of Physiology, Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

People with epilepsy (PWEs) are often advised against participating in sports and exercise, mostly because of fear, overprotection, and ignorance about the specific benefits and risks associated with such activities. Available evidence suggests that physical exercise and active participation in sports may favorably affect seizure control, in addition to producing broader health and psychosocial benefits. This consensus paper prepared by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Task Force on Sports and Epilepsy offers general guidance concerning participation of PWEs in sport activities, and provides suggestions on the issuance of medical fitness certificates related to involvement in different sports. Sports are divided into three categories based on potential risk of injury or death should a seizure occur: group 1, sports with no significant additional risk; group 2, sports with moderate risk to PWEs, but no risk to bystanders; and group 3, sports with major risk. Factors to be considered when advising whether a PWE can participate in specific activities include the type of sport, the probability of a seizure occurring, the type and severity of the seizures, seizure precipitating factors, the usual timing of seizure occurrence, and the person's attitude in accepting some level of risk. The Task Force on Sports and Epilepsy considers this document as a work in progress to be updated as additional data become available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.13261DOI Listing
January 2016

Epilepsy is a possible feature in Williams-Beuren syndrome patients harboring typical deletions of the 7q11.23 critical region.

Am J Med Genet A 2016 Jan 5;170A(1):148-55. Epub 2015 Oct 5.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Seizures are rarely reported in Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS)--a contiguous-gene-deletion disorder caused by a 7q11.23 heterozygous deletion of 1.5-1.8 Mb--and no previous study evaluated electro-clinical features of epilepsy in this syndrome. Furthermore, it has been hypothesized that atypical deletion (e.g., larger than 1.8 Mb) may be responsible for a more pronounced neurological phenotypes, especially including seizures. Our objectives are to describe the electro-clinical features in WBS and to correlate the epileptic phenotype with deletion of the 7q11.23 critical region. We evaluate the electro-clinical features in one case of distal 7q11.23 deletion syndrome and in eight epileptic WBS (eWBS) patients. Additionally, we compare the deletion size-and deleted genes-of four epileptic WBS (eWBS) with that of four non-epileptic WBS (neWBS) patients. Infantile spasms, focal (e.g., motor and dyscognitive with autonomic features) and generalized (e.g., tonic-clonic, tonic, clonic, myoclonic) seizures were encountered. Drug-resistance was observed in one patient. Neuroimaging discovered one case of focal cortical dysplasia, one case of fronto-temporal cortical atrophy and one case of periventricular nodular heterotopia. Comparison of deletion size between eWBS and neWBS patients did not reveal candidate genes potentially underlying epilepsy. This is the largest series describing electro-clinical features of epilepsy in WBS. In WBS, epilepsy should be considered both in case of typical and atypical deletions, which do not involve HIP1, YWHAG or MAGI2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.37410DOI Listing
January 2016

A Regional ADHD Center-Based Network Project for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With ADHD.

J Atten Disord 2018 10 28;22(12):1173-1184. Epub 2015 Aug 28.

10 Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatric Unit, San Paolo Hospital, Milan Italy.

Objective: We aimed to define the sociodemographic, clinical, and prescription profiles of the participants enrolled in the Italian Lombardy ADHD Register.

Method: Data on patients evaluated by the 18 regional ADHD reference centers in the 2012 to 2013 period were analyzed.

Results: Seven hundred fifty-three of 1,150 (65%) suspected patients received a diagnosis of ADHD. In 24% of cases, there was a family history of ADHD. Four hundred eighty-three (64%) patients had at least one psychopathological disorder, the more common of which were learning disorders (35%). Eighty-four percent of patients received a prescription for psychoeducational interventions, 2% received only pharmacological treatment, and 14% a combination of both. Compared with patients treated with psychoeducational intervention alone, patients with drug prescriptions more commonly presented values of Clinical Global Impressions - Severity scale (CGI-S) of 5 or higher ( p < .0001).

Conclusion: A continuous and systematic monitoring of patterns of care is essential in promoting significant improvements in clinical practice and ensuring an efficient and homogeneous quality of care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1087054715599573DOI Listing
October 2018

Refractory absence seizures: An Italian multicenter retrospective study.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2015 Nov 18;19(6):660-4. Epub 2015 Jul 18.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Background: To evaluate evidence and prognosis of refractory cases of absence seizures.

Methods: Subjects with refractory absence seizures were identified retrospectively in 17 Italian epilepsy pediatrics Centers. We analyzed age at onset, family history, presence of myoclonic components, seizure frequency, treatment with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), interictal electroencephalography (EEG) and neuropsychological assessment. Two subgroups were identified: one with patients with current absence seizures and another with patients that had become seizure free with or without AED treatment. The chi-square test was applied.

Results: A total of 92 subjects with drug-resistant absence seizures were analyzed. 45 subjects still show absence seizures (49%) and the other 47 became seizure free (51%) after a period of drug-resistance. The statistical analysis between these two groups showed no correlation between age of onset, family history and abnormalities at interictal EEG. Statistically significant differences were observed with regard to the number of AEDs used and intellectual disability.

Conclusion: Typical absence epilepsy classifiable as Childhood Absence Epilepsy could not be considered so "benign", as suggested in literature. A longer duration of disease and a higher frequency of seizure seem to be correlated with a higher presence of cognitive impairment. No significant risk factor was observed to allow the faster and better recognition of patients with worse prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2015.07.008DOI Listing
November 2015

Clinical and genetic analysis of a family with two rare reflex epilepsies.

Seizure 2015 Jul 6;29:90-6. Epub 2015 Apr 6.

University Utrecht, Biomedical Genetics and Complex Genetics, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Purpose: To determine clinical phenotypes, evolution and genetic background of a large family with a combination of two unusual forms of reflex epilepsies.

Method: Phenotyping was performed in eighteen family members (10 F, 8 M) including standardized EEG recordings with intermittent photic stimulation (IPS). Genetic analyses (linkage scans, Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) and Functional studies) were performed using photoparoxysmal EEG responses (PPRs) as affection status.

Results: The proband suffered from speaking induced jaw-jerks and increasing limb jerks evoked by flickering sunlight since about 50 years of age. Three of her family members had the same phenotype. Generalized PPRs were found in seven members (six above 50 years of age) with myoclonus during the PPR. Evolution was typical: Sensitivity to lights with migraine-like complaints around adolescence, followed by jerks evoked by lights and spontaneously with dropping of objects, and strong increase of light sensitivity and onset of talking induced jaw jerks around 50 years. Linkage analysis showed suggestive evidence for linkage to four genomic regions. All photosensitive family members shared a heterozygous R129C mutation in the SCNM1 gene that regulates splicing of voltage gated ion channels. Mutation screening of 134 unrelated PPR patients and 95 healthy controls, did not replicate these findings.

Conclusion: This family presents a combination of two rare reflex epilepsies. Genetic analysis favors four genomic regions and points to a shared SCNM1 mutation that was not replicated in a general cohort of photosensitive subjects. Further genetic studies in families with similar combination of features are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2015.03.020DOI Listing
July 2015

A prospective study of direct medical costs in a large cohort of consecutively enrolled patients with refractory epilepsy in Italy.

Epilepsia 2015 Jul 4;56(7):1162-73. Epub 2015 Jun 4.

Unit of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology, Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Objective: To evaluate direct medical costs and their predictors in patients with refractory epilepsy enrolled into the SOPHIE study (Study of Outcomes of PHarmacoresistance In Epilepsy) in Italy.

Methods: Adults and children with refractory epilepsy were enrolled consecutively at 11 tertiary referral centers and followed for 18 months. At entry, all subjects underwent a structured interview and a medical examination, and were asked to keep records of diagnostic examinations, laboratory tests, specialist consultations, treatments, hospital admissions, and day-hospital days during follow-up. Study visits included assessments every 6 months of seizure frequency, health-related quality of life (Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory 31), medication-related adverse events (Adverse Event Profile) and mood state (Beck Depression Inventory-II). Cost items were priced by applying Italian tariffs. Cost estimates were adjusted to 2013 values.

Results: Of 1,124 enrolled individuals, 1,040 completed follow-up. Average annual cost per patient was € 4,677. The highest cost was for antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment (50%), followed by hospital admissions (29% of overall costs). AED polytherapy, seizure frequency during follow-up, grade III pharmacoresistance, medical and psychiatric comorbidities, and occurrence of status epilepticus during follow-up were identified as significant predictors of higher costs. Age between 6 and 11 years, and genetic (idiopathic) generalized epilepsies were associated with the lowest costs. Costs showed prominent variation across centers, largely due to differences in the clinical characteristics of cohorts enrolled at each center and the prescribing of second-generation AEDs. Individual outliers associated with high costs related to hospital admissions had a major influence on costs in many centers.

Significance: Refractory epilepsy is associated with high costs that affect individuals and society. Costs differ across centers in relation to the characteristics of patients and the extent of use of more expensive, second-generation AEDs. Epilepsy-specific costs cannot be easily differentiated from costs related to comorbidities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.13030DOI Listing
July 2015

Paediatric anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis: The first Italian multicenter case series.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2015 Jul 3;19(4):453-63. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

Paediatric Neurology Unit, Department of Woman's and Child's Health, University Hospital of Padua, Padua, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Given the rarity of this condition, especially in children, there is a paucity of large reported paediatric case series of anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor encephalitis.

Methods: To contribute to define the features of this condition, we describe retrospectively a new nationwide case series of 20 children (50% females), referred by 13 Italian centres.

Results: Mean age at onset was 8 years (range 3-17). Prodromal symptoms were reported in 31.6%; onset was with neurological symptoms in 70%, and with behavioural/psychiatric disturbances in 30%. Most patients developed a severe clinical picture (90%), and 41% experienced medical complications; children 12-18 years old seemed to be more severe and symptomatic than younger patients. All children received first-line immune therapy; second-line treatment was administered to 45%. Relapses occurred in 15%. At last follow-up (mean 23.9 months, range 5-82), 85% patients had mRS 0-1; this rate was higher among older patients, and in those receiving first immune therapy within 1 month.

Conclusions: Our case series confirms a symptomatologic core of paediatric anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor encephalitis, even though displaying some distinctive features that may be explained by a specific genetic background or by the limited number of patients. The growing incidence of this condition, the relative age-dependent variability of its manifestations, the availability of immunotherapy and the possible better outcome with early treatment impose a high index of clinical suspicion be maintained. In the absence of data suggesting other specific etiologies, paediatricians should consider this diagnosis for children presenting with neurological and/or behavioural or psychiatric disturbances, regardless of age and gender.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2015.02.006DOI Listing
July 2015

CHD2 variants are a risk factor for photosensitivity in epilepsy.

Brain 2015 May 17;138(Pt 5):1198-207. Epub 2015 Mar 17.

19 Department of Child Neurology, Paediatric Clinic, Clinical Centre Nis, Serbia 20 Department of Paediatric Neurology, Paediatric Clinic, Al Sabah Hospital, Kuwait.

Photosensitivity is a heritable abnormal cortical response to flickering light, manifesting as particular electroencephalographic changes, with or without seizures. Photosensitivity is prominent in a very rare epileptic encephalopathy due to de novo CHD2 mutations, but is also seen in epileptic encephalopathies due to other gene mutations. We determined whether CHD2 variation underlies photosensitivity in common epilepsies, specific photosensitive epilepsies and individuals with photosensitivity without seizures. We studied 580 individuals with epilepsy and either photosensitive seizures or abnormal photoparoxysmal response on electroencephalography, or both, and 55 individuals with photoparoxysmal response but no seizures. We compared CHD2 sequence data to publicly available data from 34 427 individuals, not enriched for epilepsy. We investigated the role of unique variants seen only once in the entire data set. We sought CHD2 variants in 238 exomes from familial genetic generalized epilepsies, and in other public exome data sets. We identified 11 unique variants in the 580 individuals with photosensitive epilepsies and 128 unique variants in the 34 427 controls: unique CHD2 variation is over-represented in cases overall (P = 2.17 × 10(-5)). Among epilepsy syndromes, there was over-representation of unique CHD2 variants (3/36 cases) in the archetypal photosensitive epilepsy syndrome, eyelid myoclonia with absences (P = 3.50 × 10(-4)). CHD2 variation was not over-represented in photoparoxysmal response without seizures. Zebrafish larvae with chd2 knockdown were tested for photosensitivity. Chd2 knockdown markedly enhanced mild innate zebrafish larval photosensitivity. CHD2 mutation is the first identified cause of the archetypal generalized photosensitive epilepsy syndrome, eyelid myoclonia with absences. Unique CHD2 variants are also associated with photosensitivity in common epilepsies. CHD2 does not encode an ion channel, opening new avenues for research into human cortical excitability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awv052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4407192PMC
May 2015

An educational campaign about epilepsy among Italian primary school teachers. 2. The results of a focused training program.

Epilepsy Behav 2015 Jan 12;42:93-7. Epub 2014 Dec 12.

IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Milano, Italy. Electronic address:

A cohort of 582 Italian primary school teachers underwent a questionnaire survey to test their knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy and verify whether an intensive and focused educational program could result in improvement of knowledge and attitudes. The program consisted of a presentation of the clinical manifestations of epilepsy and the distribution of informative brochures and an educational kit on the disease and its management to be used with their students. After several months, 317 teachers were retested using the same questions. Upon retest, the number of "don't know" answers decreased significantly for almost all questions. This was not the case for negative attitudes. The same holds true for teachers believing that epilepsy is a source of learning disability and social disadvantage. These findings support the beliefs that education on epilepsy is more likely to affect ignorance than prejudice and that stronger interventions are needed to counteract stigmatizing behaviors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.07.022DOI Listing
January 2015
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