Publications by authors named "Massimo Mastrangelo"

43 Publications

Electroclinical features of MEF2C haploinsufficiency-related epilepsy: A multicenter European study.

Seizure 2021 May 30;88:60-72. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Maternal and Pediatric Department, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, Poliambulatorio "Giovanni Paolo II", Viale Padre Pio, snc, San Giovanni Rotondo (FG) 71013, Italy.

Purpose: Epilepsy is a main manifestation in the autosomal dominant mental retardation syndrome caused by heterozygous variants in MEF2C. We aimed to delineate the electro-clinical features and refine the genotype-phenotype correlations in patients with MEF2C haploinsufficiency.

Methods: We thoroughly investigated 25 patients with genetically confirmed MEF2C-syndrome across 12 different European Genetics and Epilepsy Centers, focusing on the epileptic phenotype. Clinical features (seizure types, onset, evolution, and response to therapy), EEG recordings during waking/sleep, and neuroimaging findings were analyzed. We also performed a detailed literature review using the terms "MEF2C", "seizures", and "epilepsy".

Results: Epilepsy was diagnosed in 19 out of 25 (~80%) subjects, with age at onset <30 months. Ten individuals (40%) presented with febrile seizures and myoclonic seizures occurred in ~50% of patients. Epileptiform abnormalities were observed in 20/25 patients (80%) and hypoplasia/partial agenesis of the corpus callosum was detected in 12/25 patients (~50%). Nine patients harbored a 5q14.3 deletion encompassing MEF2C and at least one other gene. In 7 out of 10 patients with myoclonic seizures, MIR9-2 and LINC00461 were also deleted, whereas ADGRV1 was involved in 3/4 patients with spasms.

Conclusion: The epileptic phenotype of MEF2C-syndrome is variable. Febrile and myoclonic seizures are the most frequent, usually associated with a slowing of the background activity and irregular diffuse discharges of frontally dominant, symmetric or asymmetric, slow theta waves with interposed spike-and-waves complexes. The haploinsufficiency of ADGRV1, MIR9-2, and LINC00461 likely contributes to myoclonic seizures and spasms in patients with MEF2C syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2021.03.025DOI Listing
May 2021

Consensus protocol for EEG and amplitude-integrated EEG assessment and monitoring in neonates.

Clin Neurophysiol 2021 Apr 3;132(4):886-903. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Child Neuropsychiatric Unit, Neuroscience Section, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy.

The aim of this work is to establish inclusive guidelines on electroencephalography (EEG) applicable to all neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Guidelines on ideal EEG monitoring for neonates are available, but there are significant barriers to their implementation in many centres around the world. These include barriers due to limited resources regarding the availability of equipment and technical and interpretive round-the-clock personnel. On the other hand, despite its limitations, amplitude-integrated EEG (aEEG) (previously called Cerebral Function Monitor [CFM]) is a common alternative used in NICUs. The Italian Neonatal Seizure Collaborative Network (INNESCO), working with all national scientific societies interested in the field of neonatal clinical neurophysiology, performed a systematic literature review and promoted interdisciplinary discussions among experts (neonatologists, paediatric neurologists, neurophysiologists, technicians) between 2017 and 2020 with the aim of elaborating shared recommendations. A consensus statement on videoEEG (vEEG) and aEEG for the principal neonatal indications was established. The authors propose a flexible frame of recommendations based on the complementary use of vEEG and aEEG applicable to the various neonatal units with different levels of complexity according to local resources and specific patient features. Suggestions for promoting cooperation between neonatologists, paediatric neurologists, and neurophysiologists, organisational restructuring, and teleneurophysiology implementation are provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2021.01.012DOI Listing
April 2021

Basal Ganglia Dysmorphism in Patients With Aicardi Syndrome.

Neurology 2021 03 4;96(9):e1319-e1333. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

From the Department of Brain and Behavioural Neurosciences (S.M., A.P., M. Formica, S.O.) and Department of Public Health Experimental and Forensic Medicine, Biostatistic and Clinical Epidemiology Unit (P. Borrelli), University of Pavia; Pediatric Neurology Unit (S.M., M. Mastrangelo, P.V.), V. Buzzi Children's Hospital, Milan; Department of Neuroradiology (A.P.), Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit (R.B., V.D.G., S.O.), and Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, Member of the ERN EpiCARE, University of Pavia and Clinical Trial Center (E.P.), IRCCS Mondino Foundation Pavia; Neuroimaging Lab (F.A.) and Neuropsychiatry and Neurorehabilitation Unit (R.R.), Scientific Institute, IRCCS Eugenio Medea, Bosisio Parini, Lecco; Child Neuropsychiatric Unit (P.A., L.G.), Civilian Hospital, Brescia; Scientific Institute (P. Bonanni, A.D., E.O.), IRCCS E. Medea, Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology Unit, Conegliano, Treviso; UOC Child Neuropsychiatry (B.D.B., F.D.), Department of Surgical Sciences, Dentistry, Gynecology and Pediatrics, University of Verona, Italy; Département de Neurologie Pédiatrique (N.D.), Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; AdPueriVitam (O.D.), Antony; Service d'Explorations Fonctionnelles (S.G.), Centre de Médecine du Sommeil, l'Hôpital Àntoine Béclère, AP-HP, Clamart; Pediatrics Departement (S.G.), André-Grégoire Hospital, Centre Hospitalier Inter Communal, Montreuil, France; Pediatric Neurology, Neurogenetics and Neurobiology Unit and Laboratories, Neuroscience Department (R.G., M. Montomoli, M.C.) and Radiology (M. Mortilla), A. Meyer Children's Hospital, Member of the ERN EpiCARE, University of Florence; IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation (R.G.), Pisa; Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, Epilepsy Center (F.L.B., A.V.), San Paolo Hospital, Department of Health Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan; Child Neurology, NESMOS Department (P.P.), Faculty of Medicine & Psychology, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University, Rome; Department of Neuroradiology (L.P.), Pediatric Neuroradiology Section, ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia; Pediatric Neuroradiology Unit (M.S.), IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genova; Neurology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Member of the ERN EpiCARE (F.V.), Oncological Neuroradiology Unit, Department of Imaging, IRCCS (G.C.), and Department of Neuroscience and Neurorehabilitation (A.F.), Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy; Institut Imagine (N.B.-B.), Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cités; Pediatric Neurology (N.B.-B., I.D.), Necker Enfants Malades Hospital, Member of the ERN EpiCARE, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris; INSERM UMR-1163 (N.B.-B., A. Arzimanoglou), Embryology and Genetics of Congenital Malformations, France; UOC Neurochirurgia (A. Accogli, V.C.), Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, University of Genoa (F.Z.), and Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Neuroscience, IRCCS (F.Z.), Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; Neurochirurgie Pédiatrique (M.B.), Hôpital NEM, Paris, France; Centre Médico-Chirurgical des Eaux-Vives (V.C.-V.), Swiss Medical Network, Genève, Switzerland; Neuroradiology Unit (L.C.) and Developmental Neurology Unit (S.D.), Foundation IRCCS C. Besta Neurological Institute, Milan; Service de Génétique (M.D.-F.), AMH2, CHU Reims, UFR de Médecine, Reims, France; Epilepsy Centre-Clinic of Nervous System Diseases (G.d.), Riuniti Hospital, Foggia, Italy; MediClubGeorgia Co Ltd (N.E.), Tbilisi, Georgia; Epilepsy Center (N.E.), Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Germany; Child and Adolescence Neurology and Psychiatry Unit (E. Fazzi), ASST Civil Hospital, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia; Child Neurology Department (E. Fiorini), Verona, Italy; Service de Genetique Clinique (M. Fradin, P.L., C.Q.), CLAD-Ouest, Hospital Sud, Rennes, France; Child Neurology Unit, Pediatric Department (C.F., C.S.), Azienda USL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia; Department of Pediatric Neuroscience (T.G., R.S.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Member of the ERN EpiCARE, Milan, Italy; Department of Epilepsy Genetics and Personalized Treatment (K.M.J., R.S.M.), The Danish Epilepsy Centre, Dianalund; Institute for Regional Health Services (K.M.J., R.S.M.), University of Southern Denmark, Odense; Unit of Pediatric Neurology and Pediatric Neurorehabilitation (S.L.), Woman-Mother-Child Department, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland; Unit of Neuroradiology (D.M.), Fondazione CNR/Regione Toscana G. Monasterio, Pisa; Pediatric Neurology Unit and Epilepsy Center (E.R., A.R.), Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Milan, Italy; KJF Klinik Josefinum GmbH (C.U.), Klinik für Kinder und Jugendliche, Neuropädiatrie, Augsburg, Germany; Department of Paediatric Clinical Epileptology, Sleep Disorders and Functional Neurology (A. Arzimanoglou), University Hospitals of Lyon, Coordinator of the ERN EpiCARE, France; and Pediatric Epilepsy Unit, Child Neurology Department (P.V.), Hospital San Juan de Dios, Member of the ERN EpiCARE and Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: Aiming to detect associations between neuroradiologic and EEG evaluations and long-term clinical outcome in order to detect possible prognostic factors, a detailed clinical and neuroimaging characterization of 67 cases of Aicardi syndrome (AIC), collected through a multicenter collaboration, was performed.

Methods: Only patients who satisfied Sutton diagnostic criteria were included. Clinical outcome was assessed using gross motor function, manual ability, and eating and drinking ability classification systems. Brain imaging studies and statistical analysis were reviewed.

Results: Patients presented early-onset epilepsy, which evolved into drug-resistant seizures. AIC has a variable clinical course, leading to permanent disability in most cases; nevertheless, some cases presented residual motor abilities. Chorioretinal lacunae were present in 86.56% of our patients. Statistical analysis revealed correlations between MRI, EEG at onset, and clinical outcome. On brain imaging, 100% of the patients displayed corpus callosum malformations, 98% cortical dysplasia and nodular heterotopias, and 96.36% intracranial cysts (with similar rates of 2b and 2d). As well as demonstrating that posterior fossa abnormalities (found in 63.63% of cases) should also be considered a common feature in AIC, our study highlighted the presence (in 76.36%) of basal ganglia dysmorphisms (never previously reported).

Conclusion: The AIC neuroradiologic phenotype consists of a complex brain malformation whose presence should be considered central to the diagnosis. Basal ganglia dysmorphisms are frequently associated. Our work underlines the importance of MRI and EEG, both for correct diagnosis and as a factor for predicting long-term outcome.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that for patients with AIC, specific MRI abnormalities and EEG at onset are associated with clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011237DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8055324PMC
March 2021

Fatal Status Epilepticus in Dravet Syndrome.

Brain Sci 2020 Nov 23;10(11). Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Neuroscience, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Full Member of European Reference Network EpiCARE, 00165 Rome, Italy.

Dravet Syndrome (DS) is burdened by high epilepsy-related premature mortality due to status epilepticus (SE). We surveyed centres within Europe through the Dravet Italia Onlus and EpiCARE network (European Reference Network for Rare and Complex Epilepsies). We collated responses on seven DS SCN1A+ patients who died following refractory SE (mean age 6.9 year, range 1.3-23.4 year); six were on valproate, clobazam, and stiripentol. All patients had previous SE. Fatal SE was always triggered by fever: either respiratory infection or one case of hexavalent vaccination. SE lasted between 80 min and 9 h and all patients received IV benzodiazepines. Four patients died during or within hours of SE; in three patients, SE was followed by coma with death occurring after 13-60 days. Our survey supports the hypothesis that unresponsive fever is a core characteristic feature of acute encephalopathy. We highlight the need for management protocols for prolonged seizures and SE in DS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110889DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7700506PMC
November 2020

Reply to Dr. Capovilla on "Reply to the article "Management of status epilepticus in adults. Position paper of the Italian League Against Epilepsy".

Epilepsy Behav 2020 06 6;107:107048. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche, Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy; Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107048DOI Listing
June 2020

Management of status epilepticus in adults. Position paper of the Italian League against Epilepsy.

Epilepsy Behav 2020 01 22;102:106675. Epub 2019 Nov 22.

IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche, Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy; Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy. Electronic address:

Since the publication of the Italian League Against Epilepsy guidelines for the treatment of status epilepticus in 2006, advances in the field have ushered in improvements in the therapeutic arsenal. The present position paper provides neurologists, epileptologists, neurointensive care specialists, and emergency physicians with updated recommendations for the treatment of adult patients with status epilepticus. The aim is to standardize treatment recommendations in the care of this patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2019.106675DOI Listing
January 2020

Defining the electroclinical phenotype and outcome of PCDH19-related epilepsy: A multicenter study.

Epilepsia 2018 12 19;59(12):2260-2271. Epub 2018 Nov 19.

Epilepsy Center, San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Objective: PCDH19-related epilepsy is an epileptic syndrome with infantile onset, characterized by clustered and fever-induced seizures, often associated with intellectual disability (ID) and autistic features. The aim of this study was to analyze a large cohort of patients with PCDH19-related epilepsy and better define the epileptic phenotype, genotype-phenotype correlations, and related outcome-predicting factors.

Methods: We retrospectively collected genetic, clinical, and electroencephalogram (EEG) data of 61 patients with PCDH19-related epilepsy followed at 15 epilepsy centers. All consecutively performed EEGs were analyzed, totaling 551. We considered as outcome measures the development of ID, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and seizure persistence. The analyzed variables were the following: gender, age at onset, age at study, genetic variant, fever sensitivity, seizure type, cluster occurrence, status epilepticus, EEG abnormalities, and cognitive and behavioral disorders. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed to evaluate the age at which seizures might decrease in frequency.

Results: At last follow-up (median = 12 years, range = 1.9-42.1 years), 48 patients (78.7%) had annual seizures/clusters, 13 patients (21.3%) had monthly to weekly seizures, and 12 patients (19.7%) were seizure-free for ≥2 years. Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed a significant decrease of seizure frequency after the age of 10.5 years (sensitivity = 81.0%, specificity = 70.0%). Thirty-six patients (59.0%) had ID and behavioral disturbances. ASD was present in 31 patients. An earlier age at epilepsy onset emerged as the only predictive factor for ID (P = 0.047) and ASD (P = 0.014). Conversely, age at onset was not a predictive factor for seizure outcome (P = 0.124).

Significance: We found that earlier age at epilepsy onset is related to a significant risk for ID and ASD. Furthermore, long-term follow-up showed that after the age of 10 years, seizures decrease in frequency and cognitive and behavioral disturbances remain the primary clinical problems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.14600DOI Listing
December 2018

Ictal signs in tuberous sclerosis complex: Clinical and video-EEG features in a large series of recorded seizures.

Epilepsy Behav 2018 08 12;85:14-20. Epub 2018 Jun 12.

Epilepsy Center-Child Neuropsychiatric Unit, ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo, Milan, Italy; Department of Health Sciences, University of Milan, Italy.

Epilepsy is the most common neurological symptom in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), occurring in 72-85% of affected individuals. Despite the large number of patients reported, their electroclinical phenotype has been rarely described. We analyzed seizure semiology through ictal video-electroencephalography (V-EEG) recordings in a large series of patients. In this multicenter study, we reviewed V-EEGs of 51 patients: ictal recordings were analyzed in correlation with their clinical variables. The median age of epilepsy onset was six months (one day-16 years), with onset in the first year of life in 71% patients (36/51), in 10 of them during the neonatal period. Sixty-five percent of patients (33/51) experienced epileptic spasms in their life, with late-onset (>two years) in five; 42% of the epileptic spasms persisted after age two years, despite the onset in the first year of life. We identified four different electroclinical subsets: focal epilepsy (35%, 18/51), Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome evolution (27%, 14/51), focal seizures with persisting spasms (33%, 17/51), and spasms only (4%, 2/51). We reviewed 45 focal seizures, 13 clusters of epileptic spasms, and seven generalized seizures. In 12 patients, we recorded different seizure types. In 71% of the focal seizures (32/45), the ictal pattern was focal without diffusion. In 38% of the patients (5/13) epileptic spasms were related to typical diffuse slow wave pattern associated with superimposed fast activity, with focal predominance. Focal seizures and focal spasms resulted as the most frequent seizure types in TSC. Seizure onset was variable but showing a predominant involvement of the frontocentral regions (40%). Discrete clinical signs characterized the seizures, and behavioral arrest was the predominant first clinical objective sign. Epileptic spasms were a typical presentation at all ages, frequently asymmetrical and associated with lateralizing features, especially in older patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2018.05.027DOI Listing
August 2018

Mild ventriculomegaly from fetal consultation to neurodevelopmental assessment: A single center experience and review of the literature.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2018 Nov 12;22(6):919-928. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

Pediatric Neurology Unit, V. Buzzi Children's Hospital, Via Castelvetro 32, 20154 Milan, Italy.

Objective: The aim of our study was to determine the outcome of fetuses with isolated mild ventriculomegaly, with prenatal imaging work-up, prenatal consultation, delivery and clinical follow-up performed in a single tertiary referring center.

Methods: Fetuses with isolated and non-progressive mild ventriculomegaly (10-15 mm) were included in the study. Inclusion criteria were as follows: singleton pregnancies, normal chromosomal analysis, normal serological evaluation of TORCH, fetal ultrasound and MRI excluding additional CNS or extra-CNS malformations. The prenatal consultation consisted in discussing the prognosis of ventriculomegaly, according to the literature. The postnatal follow-up protocol included a neuroradiological investigation (cranial ultrasound or MRI), neurological and pediatric examinations. The Griffiths Scales were used to assess the neurodevelopmental outcome.

Results: Thirty newborns were included in follow-up. The postnatal neuroradiological investigations confirmed the ventriculomegaly as an isolated finding in all cases except one. Nineteen children were available for formal neurodevelopmental testing. In our case series, 93.3% of the children had a favorable outcome or mild anomalies. Two children (6.6%) with mild ventriculomegaly were diagnosed as having rare genetic conditions. The Griffiths developmental quotients were normal (mean General Quotient 98.3) at the latest assessment (mean age 20.8 months) in all but one case.

Discussion: Most children in our case series had a favorable outcome, as described in the literature. Even though a large quantity of data is now available on ventriculomegaly, fetal consultation remains challenging and requires caution. The diagnostic work-up of pregnancies diagnosed with mild ventriculomegaly must be very meticulous and include TORCH evaluation, microarray, serial ultrasounds to exclude progression, and a fetal MRI. However, despite accurate screening, there are more complex conditions in which ventriculomegaly can be the only non-specific finding in fetal life, making postnatal follow up mandatory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2018.04.001DOI Listing
November 2018

Premature birth: complexities and difficulties in building the mother-child relationship.

J Reprod Infant Psychol 2017 Nov 6;35(5):509-523. Epub 2017 Oct 6.

c Neurologia Pediatrica, Ospedale dei Bambini Vittore Buzzi, ICP , Milano , Italy.

Aim: This paper aims to investigate if the dyadic interactive behaviours were influenced by parental stress and feelings both in preterm and full-term mother-child dyads.

Methods: 45 mothers (age = 35.29 ± 5.38) and fathers (age = 36.77 ± 6.89) of preterm infants (GA = 30.25 ± 2.95; BW = 1288.02 ± 488.76), and 36 mothers (age = 32.60 ± 4.56) and fathers (age = 35.54 ± 5.16) of full-term (GA = 39.88 ± 1.38; BW = 3156.39 ± 493.81) were involved. Parents filled out the Impact of Event Scale Revised (IES-R), Profile of Mood States (POMS) and Parenting Stress Index Short Form (PSI-SF) and interactive behaviours (Global Rating Scale) was videotaped after 3 months.

Results: Mothers of preterm children showed higher level of Intrusiveness (M = 4.07 ± .74, M = 4.39 ± .51, t = 2.22, p = .029) and Remoteness (M = 4.45 ± .83, M = 4.79 ± .34, t = 2.51, p = .015) than mothers of term children. In preterm mothers' lower levels of Sensitivity, higher levels of Intrusiveness, Remoteness and Depression are associated with the presence of negative feelings and parental stress in both parents. Moreover, higher children Distress is associated to parental negative feelings, paternal stress and post-traumatic symptoms. A higher score of parental negative feelings and parental stress predicted lower scores in Global RatingScale dimensions.

Conclusions: Our results underline that preterm birth could be a risk factor for the co-construction of interactive exchanges between mother and premature baby. This study could help practitioners to better consider parental roles and to carry out specific supportive interventions for both parents and children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02646838.2017.1383977DOI Listing
November 2017

Early neonatal Glutaric aciduria type I hidden by perinatal asphyxia: a case report.

Ital J Pediatr 2018 Jan 15;44(1). Epub 2018 Jan 15.

Pediatric Neurology Unit, "Vittore Buzzi" Children's Hospital, ASST FBF-Sacco, Milan, Italy.

Background: Perinatal asphyxia (PA) occurs in about 2 to 10 per 1000 live full-term births. Although neonatal epileptic seizures are observed in up to 60% of cases, PA may mimic or subtend other conditions. Hypoxia related brain injury is particularly relevant, as it may have permanent effects on neuropsychomotor development. Antepartum obstetric conditions, may, in turn, lead to hypoxic-ischemic damage to the fetus and the newborn, often underlying PA. Herein, a case of PA that hid and triggered signs and symptoms of Glutaric Aciduria type I (GA-I), is reported.

Case Presentation: R.F. was born at term after prolonged labour, by induced vaginal delivery with the Kristeller manoeuvre. He presented with severe asphyxia and asystoly. Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation promptly restored cardiorespiratory parameters, allowing for early extubation 30 min after. During the following hours, severe axial muscle hypotonia with an increased tone of the limb extensor muscles became evident. The absence of crying and archaic reflexes persisted and there was an onset of generalized tonic or clonic seizure. First level metabolic and inflammatory markers were within the normal range. An inherited metabolic disease was then suspected, due to the persistent clinical signs of severe neurological damage without any detectable septic parameter. GA-I was assessed and specific treatment started without any clinical improvement, although ensuring adequate growth and metabolic control. Thereafter, the baby developed a severe encephalopathy with drug resistant epileptic seizures. The progression of the neurological damage and a CVC-related sepsis led him to exitus at 2 years.

Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of early post-natal onset of GA-I reported in literature to date, in the absence of expanded newborn screening (NBS) programme. As expanded NBS programmes for inborn errors of metabolism have not yet been internationally adopted, we are of the opinion that such diseases may well be hidden by misleading signs and symptoms imputable to other more frequent harmful clinical conditions. Moreover, it would be advisable that neonatologists be trained to include GA-I in the differential diagnosis of neurological damage secondary to PA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-018-0450-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5769368PMC
January 2018

Short-Term Vitamin D3 Supplementation in Children with Neurodisabilities: Comparison of Two Delivery Methods.

Horm Res Paediatr 2017 12;88(3-4):281-284. Epub 2017 Sep 12.

Laboratory of Pediatric Endocrinology, Division of Genetics and Cell Biology, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.

Background/aims: Vitamin D deficiency is common in children with neurodisabilities. Oral vitamin D3 may not be absorbed appropriately due to dysphagia and tube feeding. The aim of this study was to compare efficacy of vitamin D3 buccal spray with that of oral drops.

Methods: Twenty-four children with neurodisabilities (5-17 years) and vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D ≤20 ng/mL) were randomized to receive vitamin D3 buccal spray 800 IU/daily (n = 12) or oral drops 750 IU/daily (n = 12) for 3 months during winter.

Results: Both groups had a significant increase in 25(OH)D (z = 150; p < 0.0001). The differences between baseline and final parathyroid hormone measurements did not reach significance in both groups. Markers of bone formation and resorption did not change significantly in both groups. The satisfaction with the formulation was significantly higher in the patients using spray.

Conclusion: Vitamin D3 supplementation with buccal spray and oral drops are equally effective in short-term treatment of vitamin D deficiency in children with neurodisabilities. Buccal spray may be more acceptable by the patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000479690DOI Listing
June 2018

Epilepsy in ring chromosome 20 syndrome.

Epilepsy Res 2016 12 24;128:83-93. Epub 2016 Oct 24.

Epilepsy Center, San Paolo Hospital, Milano, Italy; Department of Health Sciences, University of Milan, Milano, Italy.

Objective: Ring chromosome 20 syndrome is characterized by severe, drug resistant childhood onset epilepsy, often accompanied by cognitive impairment. We characterized the electro-clinical phenotype and the long-term course of epilepsy in a large series.

Methods: We reviewed the electro-clinical phenotype of 25 patients (aged 8-59 years), and assessed the relationship between epilepsy severity and clinical and/or genetic variables. We also searched for reports of patients diagnosed with r(20) syndrome in the literature, included those whose clinical information was sufficiently accurate, and compared their clinical features with the ones of our patients.

Results: Epilepsy exhibited an age dependent course. When seizure onset occurred in childhood (21 patients), terrifying hallucinations associated with focal motor seizures, often sleep-related (8 patients), or dyscognitive seizures (13 patients), were prominent features, often evolving into epileptic encephalopathy associated with non-convulsive status epilepticus (11 patients). In the long-term, progressive stabilization of drug resistant epilepsy associated with non-convulsive status epilepticus, focal seizures with motor and autonomic features, and eyelid myoclonia were noticed. Epilepsy onset in adolescence (3 patients) was accompanied by a milder developmental course, dyscognitive seizures and non-convulsive status epilepticus, and no cognitive decline. Only three older patients became seizure free (>5 years) We found statistically significant correlations between age at epilepsy onset and cognitive level. Although in the study cohort the relationship between r(20) ratio, age at epilepsy onset and cognitive level was non-statistically significant, it reached significance evaluating the larger cohort of patients previously published.

Significance: In ring(20) syndrome, epilepsy has an age dependent course and a worse outcome when age at seizure onset is earlier. The r(20) ratio and severity of cognitive impairment appear to be directly related to each other and inversely correlated with the age at epilepsy onset.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2016.10.004DOI Listing
December 2016

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

Clinical findings in a patient with FARS2 mutations and early-infantile-encephalopathy with epilepsy.

Am J Med Genet A 2016 11 23;170(11):3004-3007. Epub 2016 Aug 23.

Paediatric Neurology Unit, Children's Hospital V. Buzzi, Milan, Italy.

The FARS2 gene encodes the mitochondrial phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase and is implicated in autosomal recessive combined oxidative phosphorylation deficiency 14, a clinical condition characterized by infantile onset epilepsy and encephalopathy. Mutations in FARS2 have been reported in only few patients, but a detailed description of seizures, electroencephalographic patterns, magnetic resonance imaging findings, and long-term follow-up is still needed. We provide a clinical report of a child with FARS2-related disease manifesting drug-resistant infantile spasms associated with focal seizures. By comparative genomic hybridization analysis we identified a heterozygous microdeletion in the short arm of chromosome 6, inherited from the mother, that encompasses the first coding exon of FARS2. By sequencing of the FARS2 gene we identified a variant c.1156C>G; p.(R386G), inherited from the father. By using standard spectrophotometric techniques in skin fibroblasts, we found a combined abnormality of complexes I and IV of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. The main clinical features of the patient included axial hypotonia, mild distal hypertonia, and psychomotor delay. The magnetic resonance imaging showed microcephaly, frontal cerebral atrophy, and signal changes of dentate nuclei. At the age of 3 years and 6 months, the patient was still under treatment with vigabatrin and he has been seizure free for the last 23 months. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.37836DOI Listing
November 2016

Efficacy of ketamine in refractory convulsive status epilepticus in children: a protocol for a sequential design, multicentre, randomised, controlled, open-label, non-profit trial (KETASER01).

BMJ Open 2016 06 15;6(6):e011565. Epub 2016 Jun 15.

Neurology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: Status epilepticus (SE) is a life-threatening neurological emergency. SE lasting longer than 120 min and not responding to first-line and second-line antiepileptic drugs is defined as 'refractory' (RCSE) and requires intensive care unit treatment. There is currently neither evidence nor consensus to guide either the optimal choice of therapy or treatment goals for RCSE, which is generally treated with coma induction using conventional anaesthetics (high dose midazolam, thiopental and/or propofol). Increasing evidence indicates that ketamine (KE), a strong N-methyl-d-aspartate glutamate receptor antagonist, may be effective in treating RCSE. We hypothesised that intravenous KE is more efficacious and safer than conventional anaesthetics in treating RCSE.

Methods And Analysis: A multicentre, randomised, controlled, open-label, non-profit, sequentially designed study will be conducted to assess the efficacy of KE compared with conventional anaesthetics in the treatment of RCSE in children. 10 Italian centres/hospitals are involved in enrolling 57 patients aged 1 month to 18 years with RCSE. Primary outcome is the resolution of SE up to 24 hours after withdrawal of therapy and is updated for each patient treated according to the sequential method.

Ethics And Dissemination: The study received ethical approval from the Tuscan Paediatric Ethics Committee (12/2015). The results of this study will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02431663; Pre-results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011565DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4916612PMC
June 2016

Extrastriate visual cortex in idiopathic occipital epilepsies: The contribution of retinotopic areas to spike generation.

Epilepsia 2016 06 19;57(6):896-906. Epub 2016 Apr 19.

Department of Biomedical, Metabolic, and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Objectives: To provide insight into the pathophysiology of idiopathic childhood occipital epilepsies (ICOEs), by mapping the contribution of retinotopic visual areas to the generation and sustainment of epileptic activity.

Methods: Thirteen patients affected by ICOEs (mean age = 10.9 years) underwent a video electroencephalography-functional magnetic resonance imaging (EEG-fMRI) study. A flexible-related fMRI analysis was applied to estimate the shape of the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response in each patient. Second-level analysis was performed using the interictal EEG discharge (IED)-specific response shape for the ICOE group. The resulting fMRI t-maps were warped to the Population-Average, Landmark- and Surface-based (PALS)-B12 atlas in Caret. For localization purposes, functional results were plotted and compared against 19 retinotopic areas for each hemisphere. A correlation analysis was performed between the hemodynamic maps and electroclinical variables.

Results: The shape of the group-averaged hemodynamic response in ICOE patients showed an earlier time-to-peak and a more pronounced undershoot than the canonical hemodynamic response function (HRF). The random-effect analysis showed positive hemodynamic changes in the bilateral temporooccipital network. With regard to the retinotopic subdivision of the visual cortex, the primary visual area was consistently spared. Conversely, an extensive involvement of the occipitotemporal cortex, including the fusiform gyrus, and the occipitoparietal areas was observed. Moreover, a linear relationship was detected between the occipital spike-density and BOLD increases at the postcentral gyrus and temporooccipital cortex.

Significance: Our data indicate that both the ventral and dorsal visual pathways are involved in spike generation in ICOEs, to extents that vary between patients, and reinforce the concept of benign childhood seizure susceptibility syndrome as a substrate for ICOEs. Finally, these results underscore the need for appropriate neuropsychological testing in these children, aimed at revealing selective impairments in functions subserved by both visual pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.13385DOI Listing
June 2016

N(8)-acetylspermidine as a potential plasma biomarker for Snyder-Robinson syndrome identified by clinical metabolomics.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2016 Jan 15;39(1):131-7. Epub 2015 Jul 15.

Division of Child Neurology, University Children's Hospital Zurich, Steinwiesstrasse 75, 8032, Zurich, Switzerland.

Clinical metabolomics has emerged as a powerful tool to study human metabolism in health and disease. Comparative statistical analysis of untargeted metabolic profiles can reveal perturbations of metabolite levels in diseases and thus has the potential to identify novel biomarkers. Here we have applied a simultaneous genetic-metabolomic approach in twin boys with epileptic encephalopathy of unclear etiology. Clinical exome sequencing identified a novel missense mutation in the spermine synthase gene (SMS) that causes Snyder-Robinson syndrome (SRS). Untargeted plasma metabolome analysis revealed significantly elevated levels of N(8)-acetylspermidine, a precursor derivative of spermine biosynthesis, as a potential novel plasma biomarker for SRS. This result was verified in a third patient with genetically confirmed SRS. This study illustrates the potential of metabolomics as a translational technique to support exome data on a functional and clinical level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10545-015-9876-yDOI Listing
January 2016

Pediatric epilepsy following neonatal seizures symptomatic of stroke.

Brain Dev 2016 Jan 6;38(1):27-31. Epub 2015 Jun 6.

Unit of Child Neuropsychiatry, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.

Background: Neonatal seizures are a risk factor for later epilepsy and their etiology is known to be implicated in the outcome but, little is known about this issue in the subgroup of seizures symptomatic of perinatal arterial ischemic stroke. The aim of this study was to describe the long term risk of epilepsy after electroencephalographic confirmed neonatal seizures symptomatic of perinatal arterial ischemic stroke.

Design/subject: Fifty-five patients with electroclinical ictal data, vascular territory confirmed by neuroimaging and a minimum follow up of 3.5 years were identified from a multi-centre prospective neonatal seizures registry. Primary outcome was occurrence of post-neonatal epilepsy. The association of outcome with family history of epilepsy, gender, location of the infarct, neonatal clinical and electroencephalogram data were also studied.

Results: During a mean follow up of 8 years and 5 months, 16.4% of the patients developed post neonatal epilepsy. The mean age at first post neonatal seizure was 4 years and 2 months (range 1-10 years and 6 months). Location of the infarct was the only statistically significant risk factor (p=0.001); epilepsy was more represented in males but the difference was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Neonatal seizures symptomatic of perinatal arterial ischemic stroke had lower risk and later onset of post-neonatal epilepsy, compared to seizures described in the setting of other perinatal brain insults. Our data have implications for counseling to the family at discharge from neonatal intensive care unit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.braindev.2015.05.010DOI Listing
January 2016

The visual system in eyelid myoclonia with absences.

Ann Neurol 2014 Sep 11;76(3):412-27. Epub 2014 Aug 11.

Department of Biomedical, Metabolic, and Neural Science, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Nuovo Ospedale Civile S. Agostino Estense (NOCSAE) Hospital, AUSL Modena, NOCSE Hospital, Modena.

Objective: To investigate the functional and structural brain correlates of eyelid myoclonus and absence seizures triggered by eye closure (eye closure sensitivity [ECS]).

Methods: Fifteen patients with eyelid myoclonus with absences (EMA, Jeavons syndrome), 14 patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGE) without ECS, and 16 healthy controls (HC) underwent an electroencephalography (EEG)-correlated functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and voxel brain morphometry (VBM) protocol. The functional study consisted of 30-second epochs of eyes-open and eyes-closed conditions. The following EEG events were marked and the relative fMRI maps obtained: (1) eye closure times, (2) spontaneous blinking, and (3) spontaneous and eye closure-triggered spike and wave discharges (SWD; for EMA and IGE). Within-group and between-groups comparisons were performed for fMRI and VBM data as appropriate.

Results: In EMA compared to HC and IGE we found: (1) higher blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal related to the eye closure over the visual cortex, the posterior thalamus, and the network implicated in the motor control of eye closure, saccades, and eye pursuit movements; and (2) increments in the gray matter concentration at the visual cortex and thalamic pulvinar, whereas decrements were observed at the bilateral frontal eye field area. No BOLD differences were detected when comparing SWD in EMA and IGE.

Interpretation: Results demonstrated altered anatomo-functional properties of the visual system in EMA. These abnormalities involve a circuit encompassing the occipital cortex and the cortical/subcortical systems physiologically involved in the motor control of eye closure and eye movements. Our work supports EMA as an epileptic condition with distinctive features and provides a contribution to its classification among epileptic syndromes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.24236DOI Listing
September 2014

Genetic and forensic implications in epilepsy and cardiac arrhythmias: a case series.

Int J Legal Med 2015 May 15;129(3):495-504. Epub 2014 Aug 15.

Institute of Legal Medicine, School of Medicine, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.

Epilepsy affects approximately 3% of the world's population, and sudden death is a significant cause of death in this population. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) accounts for up to 17% of all these cases, which increases the rate of sudden death by 24-fold as compared to the general population. The underlying mechanisms are still not elucidated, but recent studies suggest the possibility that a common genetic channelopathy might contribute to both epilepsy and cardiac disease to increase the incidence of death via a lethal cardiac arrhythmia. We performed genetic testing in a large cohort of individuals with epilepsy and cardiac conduction disorders in order to identify genetic mutations that could play a role in the mechanism of sudden death. Putative pathogenic disease-causing mutations in genes encoding cardiac ion channel were detected in 24% of unrelated individuals with epilepsy. Segregation analysis through genetic screening of the available family members and functional studies are crucial tasks to understand and to prove the possible pathogenicity of the variant, but in our cohort, only two families were available. Despite further research should be performed to clarify the mechanism of coexistence of both clinical conditions, genetic analysis, applied also in post-mortem setting, could be very useful to identify genetic factors that predispose epileptic patients to sudden death, helping to prevent sudden death in patients with epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00414-014-1063-4DOI Listing
May 2015

Epilepsy-related brain networks in ring chromosome 20 syndrome: an EEG-fMRI study.

Epilepsia 2014 Mar 31;55(3):403-13. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Metabolic, and Neuroscience, NOCSAE Hospital, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Objective: To identify the brain networks that are involved in the different electroencephalography (EEG) abnormalities in patients with ring chromosome 20 [r(20)] syndrome. We hypothesize the existence of both distinctive and common brain circuits for the paroxysmal high voltage sharp waves (hSWs), the seizures, and the slow-wave 3-7 Hz rhythm that characterize this condition.

Methods: Thirteen patients with [r(20)] syndrome were studied by means of EEG simultaneously recorded with functional magnetic resonance imaging (EEG-fMRI). EEG traces were reviewed in order to detect the pathologic interictal (hSWs) and ictal activities; the 3-7 Hz theta-delta power was derived using a fast Fourier transform. A group-level analysis was performed for each type of EEG abnormality separately using a fixed-effect model and a conjunction analysis. Finally, a second-level random-effect model was applied considering together the different EEG abnormalities, without distinction between hSW, seizures, or theta-delta rhythms.

Results: Subcontinuous theta-delta rhythm was recorded in seven patients, seizures in two, and hSWs in three patients. The main results are the following: (1) the slow-wave rhythm was related to blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) increases in the premotor, sensory-motor, and temporoparietal cortex, and to BOLD decrements involving the default mode (DMN) and the dorsal attention networks (DANs); (2) the ictal-related BOLD changes showed an early involvement of the prefrontal lobe; (3) increases in BOLD signal over the basal ganglia, either for interictal and ictal activities, were observed; (4) a common pattern of positive BOLD changes in the bilateral perisylvian regions was found across the different EEG abnormalities.

Significance: The BOLD increment in the perisylvian network and the decrease of the DMN and DAN could be the expression of the [r(20)] syndrome-related cognitive and behavioral deficits. The observed BOLD patterns are similar to the ones detected in other epileptic encephalopathies, suggesting that different epileptic disorders characterized by neurobehavioral regression are associated with dysfunction in similar brain networks. A PowerPoint slide summarizing this article is available for download in the Supporting Information section here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.12539DOI Listing
March 2014

Early onset absence epilepsy with onset in the first year of life: a multicenter cohort study.

Epilepsia 2013 Oct;54 Suppl 7:66-9

Child Neuropsychiatry, Regional Epilepsy Center, Brescia, Italy.

Purpose: Absence epilepsy with onset before age 4 years, or early onset absence epilepsy (EOAE), has been rarely reported, and children with onset in the first year of life are considered almost exceptional. We aimed to report the clinical and electrophysiologic features of a cohort of children with absence epilepsy starting within the first year of life.

Methods: This was a multicenter study including patients with absence epilepsy starting within the first year of life and identified over a 20-year period (1991-2011).

Key Findings: We identified 16 patients with absence epilepsy starting within the first year of life with a mean follow-up of 6.4 years. Mean age at seizure onset was 10.3 ± (standard deviation)1.4 months (range 8-12). Two patients experienced rare tonic-clonic seizures that started later than the absences. None of the subjects had episodes of absence status epilepticus. Eleven subjects were seizure-free with the first antiepileptic drug. In eight children, therapy was withdrawn after a mean 3.2 years of treatment. None evolved into a different form of idiopathic generalized epilepsy. SLC2A1 gene analysis in 12 children (75%) failed to reveal glucose transporter 1 deficiency.

Significance: EOAE, including patients with onset within the first year of life, should be no more considered a distinct idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) syndrome, as it shows electroclinical features, response to therapy, and prognosis similar to childhood absence epilepsy. Moreover, early age of onset is not predictive of GLUT-1 deficiency and genetic analysis may be therefore avoided in patients meeting strict inclusion criteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.12311DOI Listing
October 2013

Low frequency mu-like activity characterizes cortical rhythms in epilepsy due to ring chromosome 20.

Clin Neurophysiol 2014 Feb 19;125(2):239-49. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Metabolism and Neuroscience, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, NOCSE Hospital, Modena, Italy. Electronic address:

Objectives: To evaluate the spectral and spatial features of the cortical rhythms in patients affected by ring chromosome 20 - [r(20)]-syndrome.

Methods: Twelve patients with [r(20)] syndrome were studied. As controls we enrolled 12 patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) and 12 healthy volunteers (HV). Blind source separation, spectral analyses and source reconstruction were applied in all cases in order to identify reliable spatio-temporal patterns of cortical activity.

Results: A theta-delta EEG rhythm was identified in [r(20)] patients, with spectral peak ranging between 3 and 7Hz and whose generators mapped over the sensory-motor cortices. A second peak laying at a frequency about double with respect to the first one was present in 6 cases. Analogue methodological approach in HV and IGE groups failed to show similar findings.

Conclusions: EEG of [r(20)] patients reveals the existence of a highly reproducible EEG pattern arising from the sensory-motor system.

Significance: The recognition of this peculiar EEG pattern could help the diagnostic work-up. Additionally, our findings supports the existence of a parallelism between this EEG trait and the physiological "mu" rhythm which is generate by the sensory-motor system. Such link suggests a sensory-motor system dysfunction in [r(20)] patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2013.07.009DOI Listing
February 2014

Snyder-Robinson syndrome: a novel nonsense mutation in spermine synthase and expansion of the phenotype.

Am J Med Genet A 2013 Sep 29;161A(9):2316-20. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Clinical Genetics Service, V. Buzzi Children's Hospital, ICP, Milan, Italy.

Snyder-Robinson syndrome is a rare form of X-linked intellectual disability caused by mutations in the spermine synthase (SMS) gene, and characterized by intellectual disability, thin habitus with diminished muscle mass, osteoporosis, kyphoscoliosis, facial dysmorphism (asymmetry, full lower lip), long great toes, and nasal or dysarthric speech. Physical signs seem to evolve from childhood to adulthood. We describe the first Italian patient with Snyder-Robinson syndrome and a novel nonsense mutation in SMS (c.200G>A; p.G67X). Apart from the typical features of the syndrome, the index patient presented with an ectopic right kidney and epilepsy from the first year of age that was characterized by focal motor seizures and negative myoclonus. The clinical and molecular evaluation of this family and the review of the literature expand the phenotype of Snyder-Robinson syndrome to include myoclonic or myoclonic-like seizures (starting even in the first years of life) and renal abnormalities in affected males.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.36116DOI Listing
September 2013

Sleep in ring chromosome 20 syndrome: a peculiar electroencephalographic pattern.

Funct Neurol 2013 Jan-Mar;28(1):47-53

San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Ring chromosome 20 [r(20)] syndrome is a chromosomal disorder characterized by epilepsy and intellectual disability. Distinctive electroclinical features and wakefulness EEG patterns have been described. The EEG features of sleep have not yet been evaluated. We studied the pattern of sleep in six patients aged 2-59 years who underwent at least one polysomnographic recording. Their sleep pattern evolution is described as deterioration ranging from normal to destructured NREM/REM sleep. NREM sleep alterations were observed from childhood and were more evident in adulthood. EEG abnormalities detected during wakefulness persisted, with morphological changes, during sleep. During NREM sleep all the subjects presented high amplitude delta sequences with a sharply contoured or notched appearance, prevalent over frontal regions. The theta rhythm of wakefulness was seen to persist during REM sleep. Ring chromosome 20 syndrome shows sleep alterations that seem to be age-related. A potential role of cortical and thalamocortical dysfunction is discussed.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3812720PMC
August 2013

Acute neonatal encephalopathy and seizures recurrence: a combined aEEG/EEG study.

Seizure 2013 Nov 29;22(9):703-7. Epub 2013 May 29.

U.O. Neurologia Pediatrica, V. Buzzi Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Purpose: To evaluate amplitude-integrated EEG (aEEG) in comparison with conventional (cEEG) for the identification of electrographic seizures in neonates with acute neonatal encephalopathies.

Methods: Thirty-one conventional cEEG/aEEG long-term recordings from twenty-eight newborns were reviewed in order to assess the electrographic seizure detection rate and recurrence in newborns. Two paediatric neurologists and one neonatologist, blinded to the raw full array cEEG, were asked to mark any events suspected to be an electrographic seizures on aEEG. They were asked to decide if the displayed aEEG trace showed the pattern of a single seizure (SS), repetitive seizures (RS) or status epilepticus (SE). Their ability to recognize electrographic seizures on aEEG was compared to seizures identified on full array cEEG.

Results: 25 of the 31 long-term cEEGs recordings showed electrographic seizures. The two paediatric neurologists and the neonatologist identified SE in 100% of the reviewed traces using aEEG alone while they identified 49.4% and 37.5% of electrographic seizures using aEEG alone. Overall, the correct identification ranged from 23.5% to 30.7% for SS and 66% for RS. The inter-observer agreement (k) for the identification of SE for the two paediatric neurologists and the neonatologist was 1.0. Overall the inter-observer agreement (k) for the detection of SS, RS and SE of the two paediatric neurologists was 0.91.

Conclusions: In our study the observers identified SE in 100% of the reviewed traces using raw aEEG alone, thus aEEG might represent a useful tool to detect SE in the setting of NICU. SS may not be reliably identified using aEEG alone. Simultaneous recording of the raw cEEG/aEEG provides a good level of sensitivity for the detection of neonatal electrographic seizures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2013.05.006DOI Listing
November 2013

Neonatal suppression-burst without epileptic seizures: expanding the electroclinical phenotype of STXBP1-related, early-onset encephalopathy.

Epileptic Disord 2013 Mar;15(1):55-61

Pediatric Neurology Unit, V Buzzi Children's Hospital, ICP, Milan, Italy.

Early-onset epileptic encephalopathies (EOEEs) are characterised by epileptic seizures beginning in the first months of life, abnormal background EEG activity, and are associated with severe developmental delay and poor prognosis. Mutations and deletions in the STXBP1 gene are associated with Ohtahara syndrome, also known as "early infantile epileptic encephalopathy". We report an infant affected by EOEE with a 9q34.11 deletion that encompassed the genes STXBP1 and SPTAN1. The infant presented with neonatal encephalopathy without epileptic seizures and an EEG pattern varying from highly discontinuous to suppression-burst. This was followed by West syndrome at 2 months with atypical hypsarrhythmia and spasms, easily controlled by therapy. Our findings suggest that molecular analysis of STXBP1 should be considered for newborns affected by neonatal encephalopathy associated with a peculiar EEG pattern, even in the absence of neonatal epileptic seizures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1684/epd.2013.0558DOI Listing
March 2013

Genetic testing in benign familial epilepsies of the first year of life: clinical and diagnostic significance.

Epilepsia 2013 Mar 29;54(3):425-36. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Laboratory of Neurogenetics, Department of Neuroscience, Istituto G. Gaslini, Genova, Italy.

Purpose: To dissect the genetics of benign familial epilepsies of the first year of life and to assess the extent of the genetic overlap between benign familial neonatal seizures (BFNS), benign familial neonatal-infantile seizures (BFNIS), and benign familial infantile seizures (BFIS).

Methods: Families with at least two first-degree relatives affected by focal seizures starting within the first year of life and normal development before seizure onset were included. Families were classified as BFNS when all family members experienced neonatal seizures, BFNIS when the onset of seizures in family members was between 1 and 4 months of age or showed both neonatal and infantile seizures, and BFIS when the onset of seizures was after 4 months of age in all family members. SCN2A, KCNQ2, KCNQ3, PPRT2 point mutations were analyzed by direct sequencing of amplified genomic DNA. Genomic deletions involving KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 were analyzed by multiple-dependent probe amplification method.

Key Findings: A total of 46 families including 165 affected members were collected. Eight families were classified as BFNS, 9 as BFNIS, and 29 as BFIS. Genetic analysis led to the identification of 41 mutations, 14 affecting KCNQ2, 1 affecting KCNQ3, 5 affecting SCN2A, and 21 affecting PRRT2. The detection rate of mutations in the entire cohort was 89%. In BFNS, mutations specifically involve KCNQ2. In BFNIS two genes are involved (KCNQ2, six families; SCN2A, two families). BFIS families are the most genetically heterogeneous, with all four genes involved, although about 70% of them carry a PRRT2 mutation.

Significance: Our data highlight the important role of KCNQ2 in the entire spectrum of disorders, although progressively decreasing as the age of onset advances. The occurrence of afebrile seizures during follow-up is associated with KCNQ2 mutations and may represent a predictive factor. In addition, we showed that KCNQ3 mutations might be also involved in families with infantile seizures. Taken together our data indicate an important role of K-channel genes beyond the typical neonatal epilepsies. The identification of a novel SCN2A mutation in a family with infantile seizures with onset between 6 and 8 months provides further confirmation that this gene is not specifically associated with BFNIS and is also involved in families with a delayed age of onset. Our data indicate that PRRT2 mutations are clustered in families with BFIS. Paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia emerges as a distinctive feature of PRRT2 families, although uncommon in our series. We showed that the age of onset of seizures is significantly correlated with underlying genetics, as about 90% of the typical BFNS families are linked to KCNQ2 compared to only 3% of the BFIS families, for which PRRT2 represents the major gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.12089DOI Listing
March 2013

Focal seizures with affective symptoms are a major feature of PCDH19 gene-related epilepsy.

Epilepsia 2012 Dec 4;53(12):2111-9. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Pediatric Neurology Unit, A. Meyer Children's Hospital-University of Florence, Florence, Italy.

Purpose: Mutations of the protocadherin19 gene (PCDH19) cause a female-related epilepsy of variable severity, with or without mental retardation and autistic features. Despite the increasing number of patients and mutations reported, the epilepsy phenotype associated with PCDH19 mutations is still unclear. We analyzed seizure semiology through ictal video-electroencephalography (EEG) recordings in a large series of patients.

Methods: We studied 35 patients with PCDH19 gene-related epilepsy and analyzed clinical history and ictal video-EEG recordings obtained in 34 of them.

Key Findings: Clusters of focal febrile and afebrile seizures had occurred in 34 patients, at a mean age of 10 months. The predominant and more consistent ictal sign was fearful screaming, occurring in 24 patients (70.5%); it was present since epilepsy onset in 12 and appeared later on, during the course in the remaining 12 patients. In infancy, fearful screaming mainly appeared within the context of seizures with prominent hypomotor semiology, whereas during follow-up it was associated with prominent early motor manifestations. In 16 patients, seizures were video-EEG recorded both at onset and during follow-up: in five patients (31%) seizure semiology remained identical, in 7 (44%) semiology varied and in four patients it was unclear whether ictal semiology changed with age. Three patients (9%) had both focal and generalized seizures, the latter consisting of absences and myoclonus. Ictal EEG during focal seizures showed a prominent involvement of the frontotemporal regions (22 patients). About 45% of patients had an alternating EEG pattern, with the ictal discharge migrating from one hemisphere to the contralateral during the same ictal event. Status epilepticus occurred in 30% of patients. Cognitive impairment occurred in 70%, ranging from mild (42%) to moderate (54%) and severe (4%); autistic features occurred in 28.5%. Direct sequencing detected 33 different heterozygous candidate mutations, 8 of which were novel. Mutations were missense substitutions (48.5%), premature termination (10 frameshift, 4 nonsense, and 2 splice-site mutations; 48.5%), and one in-frame deletion. Thirty candidate mutations (91%) were de novo. No specific genotype-phenotype correlation could be established, as missense and truncating mutations were associated with phenotypes of comparable severity.

Significance: Most patients with PCDH19 mutations exhibit a distinctive electroclinical pattern of focal seizures with affective symptoms, suggesting an epileptogenic dysfunction involving the frontotemporal limbic system. Awareness of this distinctive phenotype will likely enhance recognition of this disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03649.xDOI Listing
December 2012