Publications by authors named "Mariangela Farnetani"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A comparative study of hydrocortisone versus deflazacort in drug-resistant epilepsy of childhood.

Epilepsy Res 2008 Sep 3;81(1):80-5. Epub 2008 Jun 3.

Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology Section, University of Siena, Viale M. Bracci, Le Scotte, Siena, Italy.

Steroids are commonly used for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. Deflazacort has shown similar effects to prednisone, but with a less worrying adverse-effect profile. In this study, we first compared the efficacy, safety, and seizure relapse rate of deflazacort versus hydrocortisone in children affected by drug-resistant epilepsies. This was an open, non-blinded, randomized clinical study of 35 children affected by drug-resistant epilepsies. The study lasted 12 months. Group 1 (16 patients) received hydrocortisone for 6 months; group 2 (19 patients) was treated with deflazacort for the entire study period. Drug efficacy and tolerability were evaluated after 6 months of therapy. Seizure relapse rates were evaluated 12 months after the start of the study. After 6 months of therapy, hydrocortisone was effective in 44% of patients (responders, with a decrease in seizure frequency of >50%). Deflazacort was effective in 47% of patients (P=0.9). Adverse events occurred in 37% of patients using hydrocortisone and in none of those using deflazacort (P=0.002). At the end of the study, seizure relapse rate resulted significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (P=0.04). Hydrocortisone may be useful in the treatment of severely drug-resistant childhood epilepsies. However, its effects may be transient. Deflazacort should be considered in the therapeutic armamentarium for epileptic encephalopathies. The drug is as effective as hydrocortisone and may be used in therapy for a long period, with a less worrying adverse-effect profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2008.04.016DOI Listing
September 2008

Childhood absence epilepsy: evolution and prognostic factors.

Epilepsia 2005 Nov;46(11):1796-801

Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology Section, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.

Purpose: To evaluate how diagnostic criteria influence remission rates for patients with childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) and to assess clinical and EEG parameters as predictors of outcome.

Methods: One hundred nineteen patients were diagnosed with CAE, according to International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) classification criteria. They were subsequently evaluated according to stricter diagnostic criteria. Sixty-two subjects fulfilled these criteria as group 2; 57 did not and constituted group 1. Diagnostic parameters that prevented patients of group 1 from entering group 2, and variables such as sex, familial history of generalized epilepsy, and personal history of febrile convulsions also were tested as prognostic factors for terminal remission.

Results: Compared with those in group 1, patients of group 2 had significantly higher rates of seizure control (95% vs. 77%), higher rates of terminal remission (82% vs. 51%), fewer generalized tonic-clonic seizures (8% vs. 30%), and shorter mean periods of treatment (2.2 vs. 3.8 years). Significantly fewer patients were receiving polytherapy in group 2 than in group 1 (11% vs. 47%), and fewer patients had seizure relapses at antiepileptic drug discontinuation (0 vs. 22%).

Conclusions: Remission rates of patients with CAE are greatly influenced by the classification criteria used for selection. Stricter diagnostic criteria allow the definition of a homogeneous group of patients with excellent prognosis. Factors predicting unfavorable prognosis were generalized tonic-clonic seizures in the active stage of absences, myoclonic jerks, eyelid myoclonia or perioral myoclonia, and EEG features atypical for CAE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1528-1167.2005.00277.xDOI Listing
November 2005

Typical absence seizures associated with localization-related epilepsy: a clinical and electroencephalographic characterization.

Epilepsy Res 2005 Aug-Sep;66(1-3):13-21

Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology Section, University of Siena, Ospedale Santa Maria Alle Scotte, Via M. Bracci, 53100 Siena, Italy.

Introduction: This paper describes the characteristics of patients with typical absence seizures associated with localization related epilepsy (LRE) and compares electroclinical features of absences occurring in these patients with those having childhood absence epilepsy (CAE).

Methods: Consecutive patients presenting with both LRE and typical absences in their epilepsy history were included in the study (Group 1). Clinical assessments and EEG investigations were conducted during the follow-up. Patients observed during the same period, but with typical absences fulfilling the CAE diagnostic criteria, were assigned to a second group (Group 2).

Results: Fourteen patients were included in Group 1. These patients had a mean age at their last visit of 11.3 years (range 7.2-16.8), with a mean follow-up period of 6.8 years. In all patients LRE was the first type of seizure to occur at median age of 4.95+/-2.1 years (range 1.9-8.8). Typical absences appeared at median age of 7.5+/-2.5 years (range 4.5-12.5), and were well controlled by therapy. Ictal EEG and semiology features of typical absences did not show any distinctive features when compared to those of Group 2 represented by 53 patients affected by CAE. However, age at onset was significantly higher in Group 1, as was the number of patients who underwent polytherapy, and the number with relapses after drug discontinuation. None of patients in Group 1 showed terminal remission.

Conclusion: Although clinically heterogeneous and rare, the association of LRE with typical absences may be more than coincidental. In these patients, typical absences responded well to therapy, but terminal remission rates were lower than for CAE patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2005.06.006DOI Listing
January 2006

Epilepsy and electroencephalographic findings in pericentric inversion of chromosome 12.

J Child Neurol 2004 Aug;19(8):604-8

Department of Pediatrics, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.

Epilepsy, together with mental retardation, represents a common manifestation of chromosomal aberrations. Specific electroencephalographic (EEG) and epileptic patterns have been described in several chromosomal disorders, such as Angelman's syndrome, Miller-Dieker syndrome, Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, and ring 20 syndrome. A peculiar electroclinical pattern has also been identified in trisomy 12p syndrome. We report three patients with a pericentric inversion of chromosome 12, with breakpoints localized to p11-q13 and affected by epilepsy or EEG anomalies. Two suffered from epilepsy, which, in the clinical course, was mainly characterized by complex partial seizures with a semiology related to the temporal lobe. In one patient, myoclonic absences, head drop, and massive jerky attacks were also present. In both patients, generalized 3 Hz bursts were registered, together with multifocal and focal paroxysmal activity, which were most prominent in the temporoparietal and temporal areas, respectively. In the other patient, who had no epilepsy, EEG showed bioccipital paroxysmal activity. In all patients, the clinical picture was characterized by the presence of moderate mental retardation and behavioral disorders. The incidence of epilepsy or EEG anomalies among patients with a pericentric inversion of chromosome 12 remains to be ascertained. However, the present study confirms that chromosome 12 anomalies can be associated with epilepsy. Although myoclonic absence-like episodes can occasionally be part of the epileptic phenotype, the electroclinical pattern in pericentric inversion of chromosome 12 seems to be more polymorphic when compared with that observed in trisomy 12p syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/088307380401900807DOI Listing
August 2004

Electroencephalographic and epileptic patterns in X chromosome anomalies.

J Clin Neurophysiol 2004 Jul-Aug;21(4):249-53

Department of Pediatrics, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.

Although epilepsy and mental retardation are commonly observed in individuals with chromosomal aberrations, the identification of EEG/epileptic profiles in those with specific chromosome anomalies remains difficult. A few syndromes seem to show peculiar clinical and EEG associations. The authors report an electroclinical investigation on a group of patients carrying X chromosome anomalies: 16 patients with Turner's syndrome, 17 with Klinefelter's syndrome, 1 with an X-autosomal rearrangement, 2 with Xq isochromosome [Xq(i)], and 7 with triple X syndrome. Epilepsy and/or EEG anomalies were found in three of the patients with Klinefelter's syndrome, in one patient with an X-autosomal rearrangement, and in five of those with triple X syndrome. No epilepsy or EEG anomalies were detected in the other patients. Epilepsy may be associated with Klinefelter's syndrome. In addition, the authors found that an electroclinical pattern, represented by paroxysmal activity in the posterior regions (temporo-parieto-occipital areas) with complex partial seizures and easily controlled by antiepileptic drugs, may be present in patients with triple X syndrome. In contrast, gross X-autosomal rearrangements are associated with polymorphic EEG/epileptic findings. Although further studies are needed to validate these observations, they clearly confirm the strict relationship between X chromosome anomalies and epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00004691-200407000-00003DOI Listing
December 2004

Inter-ictal and post-ictal circulating levels of allopregnanolone, an anticonvulsant metabolite of progesterone, in epileptic children.

Epilepsy Res 2003 Apr;54(1):29-34

Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Reproductive Medicine, University of Siena, Viale M. Bracci, Le Scotte, Siena 53100, Italy.

Allopregnanolone belongs to a group of neuroactive steroid hormones, or neurosteroids, synthesized and acting within the brain and is as a potent endogenous positive modulator of GABA(A) receptor complex. Administration of allopregnanolone protects rats against pentylentetrazol, bicuculline, kainic acid, and picrotoxin-induced seizures. We investigated serum allopregnanolone levels in children with active epilepsy at pubertal Tanner's stage I (n=52). Blood specimens were collected at least 12 h after a seizure (inter-ictal). In a subgroup of patients (n=11), specimens were also collected within 30 min from a seizure attack (post-ictal). Healthy age-matched children (n=18) served as controls. Serum allopregnanolone was measured by radioimmunoassay using a polyclonal antiserum. The inter-ictal serum allopregnanolone levels in the epileptic children were not statistically different from those detected in the control group, whereas post-ictal levels were significantly higher than the inter-ictal ones (P=0.0001). In this subgroup of patients allopregnanolone levels decreased to the basal values during the following 12 h. Serum allopregnanolone levels may therefore reflect changes in neuronal excitability, and allopregnanolone appears to be a reliable circulating marker of epileptic seizures. It is possible that increased post-ictal serum levels of allopregnanolone may play a role in modulating neuronal excitability and may represent an endogenous mechanism of seizure control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0920-1211(03)00042-1DOI Listing
April 2003