Publications by authors named "Sara Matricardi"

54 Publications

A nationwide study on Sydenham's chorea: Clinical features, treatment and prognostic factors.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2021 Nov 6;36:1-6. Epub 2021 Nov 6.

Pediatric Rheumatology, Pediatric University Department, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Pisana, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Objectives: Sydenham's Chorea (SC) is a neuropsychiatric disorder and a major manifestation of acute rheumatic fever. The erroneous assumption that SC is a benign and self-limiting disease, has led to a lack of high-quality scientific evidence of the therapeutical and prognostic features of SC.

Study Design: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of patients <18-years old with SC in 17 Italian pediatric centers. Recorded data included clinical, instrumental and laboratory parameters. Prognostic risk factors including treatment regimens were assessed with univariate and multivariate sub-analysis.

Results: We included 171 patients with SC. 66% had generalized chorea, and 34% hemichorea. 81% had carditis (subclinical in 65%). Additional neurological symptoms were reported in 60% of the patients, mainly dysarthria and dysgraphia. 51% had neuropsychiatric symptoms at onset, which persisted after 12 months in 10%. Among psychiatric manifestations, the most common was anxiety disorder/depression (77%). Neurological remission was reached by 93% of the patients at 6 months; 9% relapsed. Patients were treated as follows: 11% penicillin alone, 37% immunomodulatory therapy, 16% symptomatic drugs (i.e. anti-seizure medication, dopamine antagonists) and 37% both symptomatic and immunomodulatory treatment. Neurological outcome did not differ between groups. Patients receiving symptomatic drugs had a higher risk of relapse on multivariate analysis (p = 0.045).

Conclusions: Treatment of SC was largely heterogeneous. Based on our results, immunomodulatory therapy did not show higher efficacy at medium term, although it was associated to a slightly lower risk of relapse compared to symptomatic therapy. Longitudinal studies are needed to assess specific risk factors and best treatment options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2021.11.002DOI Listing
November 2021

Unraveling the enigma of new-onset refractory status epilepticus: a systematic review of aetiologies.

Eur J Neurol 2021 Oct 18. Epub 2021 Oct 18.

Department of Neurology, Christian Doppler University Hospital, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria.

Background And Purpose: New-onset refractory status epilepticus (NORSE) is a clinical presentation, neither a specific diagnosis nor a clinical entity. It refers to a patient without active epilepsy or other pre-existing relevant neurological disorder, with a NORSE without a clear acute or active structural, toxic or metabolic cause. This study reviews the currently available evidence about the aetiology of patients presenting with NORSE and NORSE-related conditions.

Methods: A systematic search was carried out for clinical trials, observational studies, case series and case reports including patients who presented with NORSE, febrile-infection-related epilepsy syndrome or the infantile hemiconvulsion-hemiplegia and epilepsy syndrome.

Results: Four hundred and fifty records were initially identified, of which 197 were included in the review. The selected studies were retrospective case-control (n = 11), case series (n = 83) and case reports (n = 103) and overall described 1334 patients both of paediatric and adult age. Aetiology remains unexplained in about half of the cases, representing the so-called 'cryptogenic NORSE'. Amongst adult patients without cryptogenic NORSE, the most often identified cause is autoimmune encephalitis, either non-paraneoplastic or paraneoplastic. Infections are the prevalent aetiology of paediatric non-cryptogenic NORSE. Genetic and congenital disorders can have a causative role in NORSE, and toxic, vascular and degenerative conditions have also been described.

Conclusions: Far from being a unitary condition, NORSE is a heterogeneous and clinically challenging presentation. The development and dissemination of protocols and guidelines to standardize diagnostic work-up and guide therapeutic approaches should be implemented. Global cooperation and multicentre research represent priorities to improve the understanding of NORSE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ene.15149DOI Listing
October 2021

Epilepsy, electroclinical features, and long-term outcomes in Pitt-Hopkins syndrome due to pathogenic variants in the TCF4 gene.

Eur J Neurol 2022 Jan 7;29(1):19-25. Epub 2021 Oct 7.

Department of Paediatrics, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Background And Purpose: Pitt-Hopkins syndrome (PTHS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder caused by deletions/variants in the TCF4 gene. Seizures may be present in up to half of the patients, leading to a more severe disease burden. This study aims to analyse the electroclinical phenotype, treatment options, and long-term outcomes of epilepsy in PTHS.

Methods: A multicentre observational cohort study was performed, and the electroclinical data of PTHS individuals affected by epileptic seizures were retrospectively reviewed and analysed.

Results: The series includes 21 patients (11 female) with a median age at seizure onset of 2 years (range = 0.5-8). The median time of follow-up was 7.9 years (range = 2-27). Both generalized and focal epilepsies were present at the same prevalence (42.8%), whereas a minority of patients presented developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (14.4%). At the long-term follow-up, 42.8% achieved seizure freedom, whereas 42.8% developed drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE). The age at seizure onset was found to be an independent predictor for seizure outcome; in this regard, patients having seizure onset after the age of 2 years were more prone to achieve seizure freedom (odds ratio = 0.04, 95% confidence interval = 0.003-0.53; p = 0.01). During evolution, seizures tended to settle down, and even in patients with DRE, seizures tended to persist at a lower frequency and appeared to be more easily manageable over time.

Conclusions: This study provides new insight into the natural history of epilepsy in PTHS. Better characterization of epileptic phenotype and prompt tailored treatment improve overall management and quality of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ene.15104DOI Listing
January 2022

Genotype-phenotype correlations in SCN8A-related disorders reveal prognostic and therapeutic implications.

Brain 2021 Aug 25. Epub 2021 Aug 25.

National Centre for Rare Epilepsy-Related Disorders, Oslo University Hospital, 0001 Oslo, Norway.

We report detailed functional analyses and genotype-phenotype correlations in 392 individuals carrying disease-causing variants in SCN8A, encoding the voltage-gated Na+ channel NaV1.6, with the aim of describing clinical phenotypes related to functional effects. Six different clinical subgroups could be identified: 1) Benign familial infantile epilepsy (BFIE) (n = 15, normal cognition, treatable seizures), 2) intermediate epilepsy (n = 33, mild ID, partially pharmaco-responsive), 3) developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE, n = 177, severe ID, majority pharmaco-resistant), 4) generalized epilepsy (n = 20, mild to moderate ID, frequently with absence seizures), 5) unclassifiable epilepsy (n = 127), and 6) neurodevelopmental disorder without epilepsy (n = 20, mild to moderate ID). Groups 1-3 presented with focal or multifocal seizures (median age of onset: four months) and focal epileptiform discharges, whereas the onset of seizures in group 4 was later (median: 42 months) with generalized epileptiform discharges. We performed functional studies expressing missense variants in ND7/23 neuroblastoma cells and primary neuronal cultures using recombinant tetrodotoxin-insensitive human NaV1.6 channels and whole-cell patch-clamping. Two variants causing DEE showed a strong gain-of-function (GOF, hyperpolarising shift of steady-state activation, strongly increased neuronal firing rate), and one variant causing BFIE or intermediate epilepsy showed a mild GOF (defective fast inactivation, less increased firing). In contrast, all three variants causing generalized epilepsy induced a loss-of-function (LOF, reduced current amplitudes, depolarising shift of steady-state activation, reduced neuronal firing). Including previous studies, functional effects were known for 170 individuals. All 136 individuals carrying a functionally tested GOF variant had either focal (97, groups 1-3), or unclassifiable epilepsy (39), whereas 34 with a LOF variant had either generalized (14), no (11) or unclassifiable (6) epilepsy; only three had DEE. Computational modeling in the GOF group revealed a significant correlation between the severity of the electrophysiological and clinical phenotypes. GOF variant carriers responded significantly better to sodium channel blockers (SCBs) than to other anti-seizure medications, and the same applied for all individuals of groups 1-3. In conclusion, our data reveal clear genotype-phenotype correlations between age at seizure onset, type of epilepsy and gain- or loss-of-function effects of SCN8A variants. Generalized epilepsy with absence seizures is the main epilepsy phenotype of LOF variant carriers and the extent of the electrophysiological dysfunction of the GOF variants is a main determinant of the severity of the clinical phenotype in focal epilepsies. Our pharmacological data indicate that SCBs present a treatment option in SCN8A-related focal epilepsy with onset in the first year of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab321DOI Listing
August 2021

The Pharmacoresistant Epilepsy: An Overview on Existant and New Emerging Therapies.

Front Neurol 2021 22;12:674483. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, Pediatric Clinic, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological chronic disorders, with an estimated prevalence of 0. 5 - 1%. Currently, treatment options for epilepsy are predominantly based on the administration of symptomatic therapy. Most patients are able to achieve seizure freedom by the first two appropriate drug trials. Thus, patients who cannot reach a satisfactory response after that are defined as pharmacoresistant. However, despite the availability of more than 20 antiseizure medications (ASMs), about one-third of epilepsies remain drug-resistant. The heterogeneity of seizures and epilepsies, the coexistence of comorbidities, and the broad spectrum of efficacy, safety, and tolerability related to the ASMs, make the management of these patients actually challenging. In this review, we analyze the most relevant clinical and pathogenetic issues related to drug-resistant epilepsy, and then we discuss the current evidence about the use of available ASMs and the alternative non-pharmacological approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.674483DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8258148PMC
June 2021

Perampanel effectiveness and tolerability in patients with epilepsy at long-term follow-up.

Epilepsy Behav 2021 08 30;121(Pt A):108069. Epub 2021 May 30.

Epilepsy Centre, Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata", Rome, Italy; Neurology Unit, University Hospital of Rome "Tor Vergata", Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Introduction: The main of the present study was to assess the effectiveness and tolerability of perampanel (PER) in association with 1 or 2 concomitant antiseizure medications (ASMs) in patients with epilepsy throughout a follow-up period of 24 months or longer in a real-world setting.

Methods: This retrospective, observational, multi-center study collected data from both underage (<18 years old) and adult patients who had started PER in association with 1 or 2 ASMs. Only patients who had started PER and were followed up for at least 24 months were included. Response to treatment was analyzed at the 24-, 36-, and 48-month visits by considering the last visit undergone by patients. Subgroup analyses were performed according to age, gender, and epilepsy type and patients were categorized following PER treatment in concomitance with 1 or 2 ASMs to evaluate the factors affecting the achievement of seizure freedom (SF) at the 24-month FU.

Results: Ninety-four patients were included (mean age 36.89 years; 51.1% female). At the 24-month follow-up visit, 90 (95.74%) patients were still receiving PER concomitantly with 1 or 2 ASMs. The mean PER dose was 6.02 mg/day and SF was achieved by 33 (35.1%) patients. A significantly higher SF rate was found in patients who had started PER with only 1 ASM when compared to those who had started PER with 2 concomitant ASMs. Effectiveness was maintained also in the subgroups of patients with a 36- or 48-month follow-up visit. Adult patients had a higher final daily dosage of PER than underage patients. Logistic regression found that the lowest number of previously failed ASMs was associated with a higher SF rate (p = 0.036).

Conclusion: Perampanel demonstrated a good effectiveness in association with 1 or 2 ASMs in both pediatric and adult patients, without having to use a high dose of the drug. The possibility to present SF was higher when PER was added early. Finally, the maintenance of effectiveness was observed also in the subgroups of patients with a follow-up of 36 and 48 months.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.108069DOI Listing
August 2021

Inflammation in pediatric epilepsies: Update on clinical features and treatment options.

Epilepsy Behav 2021 Apr 15:107959. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Pediatric Neurology, Necker Enfants Malades Hospital, Reference Centre for Rare Epilepsies and Member of the ERN EpiCARE, Imagine Institute UMR1163, Paris Descartes University, Paris, France.

The role of inflammation is increasingly recognized in triggering or sustaining epileptic activity. In the last decades, increasing research has provided definite evidence to support the link between immunity, inflammatory process, and epilepsy. Neuro- and systemic inflammation play a pivotal role in driving epileptogenesis through different pathogenetic mechanisms: the activation of innate immunity in glia, neurons, and microvasculature, the brain mediated by blood-brain barrier (BBB) impairment, and the imbalance of pro- and anti-inflammatory molecules produced by both arms of immunity. More recently, research has focused on the adverse effects of maternal or early-life immune activation and cytokine imbalance on fetal neurodevelopment and postnatal epilepsy. A complex crosstalk between the immune and nervous system, and a crucial interplay of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors may influence structures and functions of the developing brain. A better understanding of the inflammatory process in promoting epilepsy implies that targeting specific pathways may be effective in seizure control. Multiple targets have been identified so far, and several antiseizure interventions are obtained by inhibiting inflammatory signaling or protecting/restoring BBB. All this evidence has changed the field of epilepsy research and neuropharmacology. Further developments and new treatments will rapidly emerge to improve seizure management in inflammation-related epilepsies. This article is part of the Special Issue "Severe Infantile Epilepsies".
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.107959DOI Listing
April 2021

Anti-seizure medications for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021 04 7;4:CD003277. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Child Neuropsychiatry, Children's Hospital "G. Salesi", Ospedali Riuniti Ancona, Ancona, Italy.

Background: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is an age-specific epilepsy syndrome characterised by multiple seizure types, including drop seizures. LGS has a characteristic electroencephalogram, an onset before age eight years and an association with drug resistance. This is an updated version of the Cochrane Review published in 2013.

Objectives: To assess the efficacy and tolerability of anti-seizure medications (ASMs) for LGS.

Search Methods: We searched the Cochrane Register of Studies (CRS Web) and MEDLINE (Ovid, 1946 to 28 February 2020) on 2 March 2020. CRS Web includes randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs from the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); the Specialised Registers of Cochrane Review Groups, including Cochrane Epilepsy; PubMed; Embase; ClinicalTrials.gov; and the World Health Organization's International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). We imposed no language restrictions. We contacted pharmaceutical companies and colleagues in the field to seek any unpublished or ongoing studies.

Selection Criteria: We considered RCTs, including cross-over trials, of ASMs for LGS in children and adults. We included studies of ASMs used as either monotherapy or as an add-on (adjunctive) therapy. We excluded studies comparing different doses of the same ASM.

Data Collection And Analysis: We used standard Cochrane methodological procedures, including independent, dual assessment for risk of bias and application of the GRADE approach to rate the evidence certainty for outcomes.

Main Results: We found no trials of ASM monotherapy. The review included 11 trials (1277 participants; approximately 11 weeks to 112 weeks follow-up after randomisation) using add-on ASMs for LGS in children, adolescents and adults. Two studies compared add-on cannabidiol (two doses) with add-on placebo in children and adolescents only. Neither study reported overall seizure cessation or reduction. We found high-certainty evidence that 72 more people per 1000 (confidence interval (CI) 4 more to 351 more) had adverse events (AE) leading to study discontinuation with add-on cannabidiol, compared to add-on placebo (two studies; 396 participants; risk ratio (RR) 4.90, 95% CI 1.21 to 19.87). One study compared add-on cinromide with add-on placebo in children and adolescents only. We found very low-certainty evidence that 35 more people per 1000 (CI 123 fewer to 434 more) had 50% or greater average reduction of overall seizures with add-on cinromide compared to add-on placebo (one study; 56 participants; RR 1.15, 95% CI 0.47 to 2.86). This study did not report participants with AE leading to study discontinuation. One study compared add-on clobazam (three doses) with add-on placebo. This study did not report overall seizure cessation or reduction. We found high-certainty evidence that 106 more people per 1000 (CI 0 more to 538 more) had AE leading to study discontinuation with add-on clobazam compared to add-on placebo (one study; 238 participants; RR 4.12, 95% CI 1.01 to 16.87). One study compared add-on felbamate with add-on placebo. No cases of seizure cessation occurred in either regimen during the treatment phase (one study; 73 participants; low-certainty evidence). There was low-certainty evidence that 53 more people per 1000 (CI 19 fewer to 716 more) with add-on felbamate were seizure-free during an EEG recording at the end of the treatment phase, compared to add-on placebo (RR 2.92, 95% CI 0.32 to 26.77). The study did not report overall seizure reduction. We found low-certainty evidence that one fewer person per 1000 (CI 26 fewer to 388 more) with add-on felbamate had AE leading to study discontinuation compared to add-on placebo (one study, 73 participants; RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.06 to 14.97). Two studies compared add-on lamotrigine with add-on placebo. Neither study reported overall seizure cessation. We found high-certainty evidence that 176 more people per 1000 (CI 30 more to 434 more) had ≥ 50% average seizure reduction with add-on lamotrigine compared to add-on placebo (one study; 167 participants; RR 2.12, 95% CI 1.19 to 3.76). We found low-certainty evidence that 40 fewer people per 1000 (CI 68 fewer to 64 more) had AE leading to study-discontinuation with add-on lamotrigine compared to add-on placebo (one study; 169 participants; RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.13 to 1.82). Two studies compared add-on rufinamide with add-on placebo. Neither study reported seizure cessation. We found high-certainty evidence that 202 more people per 1000 (CI 34 to 567 more) had ≥ 50% average seizure reduction (one study; 138 participants; RR 2.84, 95% CI 1.31 to 6.18). We found low-certainty evidence that 105 more people per 1000 (CI 17 fewer to 967 more) had AE leading to study discontinuation with add-on rufinamide compared to add-on placebo (one study; 59 participants; RR 4.14, 95% CI 0.49 to 34.86). One study compared add-on rufinamide with another add-on ASM. This study did not report overall seizure cessation or reduction. We found low-certainty evidence that three fewer people per 1000 (CI 75 fewer to 715 more) had AE leading to study discontinuation with add-on rufinamide compared to another add-on ASM (one study; 37 participants; RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.10 to 9.57). One study compared add-on topiramate with add-on placebo. This study did not report overall seizure cessation. We found low-certainty evidence for ≥ 75% average seizure reduction with add-on topiramate (one study; 98 participants; Peto odds ratio (Peto OR) 8.22, 99% CI 0.60 to 112.62) and little or no difference to AE leading to study discontinuation compared to add-on placebo; no participants experienced AE leading to study discontinuation (one study; 98 participants; low-certainty evidence).

Authors' Conclusions: RCTs of monotherapy and head-to-head comparison of add-on ASMs are currently lacking. However, we found high-certainty evidence for overall seizure reduction with add-on lamotrigine and rufinamide, with low-certainty evidence for AE leading to study discontinuation compared with add-on placebo or another add-on ASM. The evidence for other add-on ASMs for overall seizure cessation or reduction was low to very low with high- to low-certainty evidence for AE leading to study discontinuation. Future research should consider outcome reporting of overall seizure reduction (applying automated seizure detection devices), impact on development, cognition and behaviour; future research should also investigate age-specific efficacy of ASMs and target underlying aetiologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003277.pub4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095011PMC
April 2021

The Ketogenic Diet for the Treatment of Mood Disorders in Comorbidity With Epilepsy in Children and Adolescents.

Front Pharmacol 2020 24;11:578396. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Department of Medicine, Surgery, and Odontoiatry, Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.

The ketogenic diet, used for over a century as an alternative therapy for the control of drug-resistant seizures in both children and adults, has recently drawn increasing interest in various neurological or psychiatric disorders other than epilepsy. In particular, there are a few preliminary studies in mood and neurodevelopmental disorders such as anxiety, depression and autism spectrum disorders. Mood disorders in comorbidity with epilepsy are commonly seen in adolescents and young adults both at the onset and during the course of the epileptic disorder. The rationale for the use of the ketogenic diet is based on the potential mood stabilizing effects through level modifications of metabolites such as dopamine and serotonin and the regulation of GABA/glutamatergic neurotransmission, mitochondrial function and oxidative stress. In this review, epilepsies with a higher risk of mood disorders in adolescents will be considered. A brief overview of the various types of ketogenic diet that can currently be offered to young patients in order to improve palatability and compliance with the diet, is also included. The efficacy and tolerability of the ketogenic diet options for the treatment of mood disorders, with or without drug therapy including mood stabilizers and antidepressant drugs, are as well discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.578396DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7768824PMC
November 2020

Neonatal developmental and epileptic encephalopathy due to autosomal recessive variants in SLC13A5 gene.

Epilepsia 2020 11 16;61(11):2474-2485. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Department of Child Neuropsychiatry, Children's Hospital, Ancona, Italy.

Objective: Autosomal recessive pathogenic variants of the SLC13A5 gene are associated with severe neonatal epilepsy, developmental delay, and tooth hypoplasia/hypodontia. We report on 14 additional patients and compare their phenotypic features to previously published patients to identify the clinical hallmarks of this disorder.

Methods: We collected clinical features of 14 patients carrying biallelic variants in SLC13A5 and performed a PubMed search to identify previously published patients.

Results: All patients presented clonic or tonic seizures in the first days of life, evolving into status epilepticus in 57%. Analysis of seizure frequency and developmental milestones divided into five epochs showed an evolutionary trajectory of both items. In the first 3 years of life, 72% of patients had weekly/monthly seizures, often triggered by fever; 14% were seizure-free. Between the ages of 3 and 12 years, 60% become seizure-free; in the following years, up to age 18 years, 57% were seizure-free. After the age of 18 years, all three patients reaching this age were seizure-free. Similarly, 86% of patients at onset presented mild to moderate developmental impairment and diffuse hypotonia. In late childhood, all had developmental delay that was severe in most. Benzodiazepines, phenobarbital, phenytoin, and carbamazepine were the most effective drugs. Eight probands carried heterozygous compound variants, and homozygous pathogenic variants occurred in six. Literature review identified 45 patients carrying SLC13A5 gene pathogenic variants whose clinical features overlapped with our cohort. A peculiar and distinguishing sign is the presence of tooth hypoplasia and/or hypodontia in most patients.

Significance: Autosomal recessive pathogenic variants in SLC13A5 are associated with a distinct neonatal epileptic encephalopathy evolving into severe cognitive and motor impairment, yet with seizures that settle down in late childhood. Tooth hypoplasia or hypodontia remains the peculiar feature. The SLC13A5 gene should be screened in neonatal epileptic encephalopathies; its recessive inheritance has relevance for genetic counseling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16699DOI Listing
November 2020

Potential role of brivaracetam in pediatric epilepsy.

Acta Neurol Scand 2021 Jan 13;143(1):19-26. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Paediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, IRCCS 'G. Gaslini' Institute, Genoa, Italy.

Brivaracetam (BRV) is a new antiseizure medication (ASM) that is currently approved for adjunctive treatment in patients with focal onset seizures. Similarly to levetiracetam (LEV), BRV works by binding SV2A vesicles with a high affinity and a linear pharmacokinetic profile. Retrospective studies and randomized clinical trials have already proven the efficacy of BRV, even in patients who failed treatment with LEV. Most studies about the efficacy and tolerability conducted so far were performed in adult cohorts, whereas few studies have been performed in children; however, BRV was proven to be a useful ASM for pediatric focal epilepsies, with fewer studies and conflicting results among patients with generalized epilepsies and epileptic syndromes. Retention rates were high in the cohorts analyzed, and no serious treatment-emergent adverse events were reported in the majority of patients, with somnolence, drowsiness, irritability, aggression, and decreased appetite being the most frequently reported side effects. Although there are few original papers published on the subject so far, the analysis of the literature data demonstrated the efficacy and safety of BRV in pediatric patients, with more evidence for children aged 4-16 years with an onset of focal seizures. However, a positive response was also achieved in patients affected by encephalopathic epilepsies (eg, Jeavons' epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and juvenile myoclonic epilepsy), and ongoing studies are now testing BRV in order to widen its application to other forms of epilepsy and to test its effectiveness when used in monotherapy. This review aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the literature surrounding the efficacy and tolerability of BRV for pediatric patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ane.13347DOI Listing
January 2021

Social cognition and executive functions in children and adolescents with focal epilepsy.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2020 Sep 13;28:167-175. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Department of Psychological, Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

Objectives: Deficits in facial emotion recognition and Theory of Mind are frequent in patients with epilepsy. Although this evidence, studies on pediatric age are few and the relation between these abilities and other cognitive domain remains to be better elucidated. The purpose of our study is to evaluate facial emotion recognition and Theory of Mind in children and adolescents with focal epilepsy, and correlate them with intelligence and executive functions.

Materials And Methods: Our work is a cross-sectional observational study. Sixty-two children and adolescents aged between 7-16 years diagnosed by focal epilepsy and 32 sex/age-matched controls were recruited. All participants were administered a standardized battery tests to assess social cognition (NEPSY-II), executive functions (EpiTrack Junior) and cognitive non-verbal level (Raven Progressive Matrices).

Results: Emotion recognition mean score was significantly lower in the epilepsy group than in the controls to Student's t-test (p<0.05). Epilepsy group showed an impairment in happiness, sadness, anger and fear recognition, compared to controls (p<0.05). Theory of Mind mean score was also significantly lower in epilepsy group than controls (p<0.05). Deficits in emotion recognition seemed to be related to low age at onset of epilepsy, long duration of disease, low executive functions and low non-verbal intelligence. Deficits in Theory of Mind seemed to be related to a high seizure frequency.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that children and adolescents with focal epilepsy had deficit in facial emotion recognition and Theory of Mind, compared to their peer. Both these difficulties seem to be related to some features of epilepsy itself. Our results also suggest that deficits in facial emotion recognition are potentially related to difficulties in executive functions and non-verbal intelligence. More studies are needed to confirm these hypotheses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2020.06.019DOI Listing
September 2020

Withdrawal seizures: possible risk factors.

Expert Rev Neurother 2020 07 23;20(7):667-672. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Department of Pediatrics, University of L'Aquila , L'Aquila, Italy.

Introduction: Most of the patients usually achieve seizure freedom under treatment with antiseizure medications (ASMs). Drug withdrawal in seizure-free patients is still one of the most challenging issues in the management of epilepsy. The decision-making process of whether the treatment should be discontinued must be based on the evaluation of possible long-term side effects of chronic treatment and, on the other hand, the risk of seizure relapse.

Areas Covered: This review aims to describe and discuss possible predictors and risk factors for seizure relapse during and after discontinuation, according to the available literature evidence. The most important risk factors for withdrawal failure are the etiology of the epilepsy syndrome and epilepsy-related factors, worsening or persistence of epileptiform abnormalities on EEG recordings at the time of discontinuation or during drug tapering, and brain MRI abnormalities. Each single risk factor should be considered together with possible other concurrent predictors.

Expert Opinion: The decision to withdrawal antiseizure medication in seizure-free patients should be carefully planned and based on the evaluation of predictors. A discontinuation program should include tailored discussion with patients and family members and individualized decision, the taper schedule, and plans for monitoring during and after drug tapering.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737175.2020.1780917DOI Listing
July 2020

Perampanel tolerability in children and adolescents with focal epilepsy: Effects on behavior and executive functions.

Epilepsy Behav 2020 02 11;103(Pt A):106879. Epub 2020 Jan 11.

Oasi Research Institute-IRCCS, Troina, Italy.

Objectives: Perampanel (PER) is a noncompetitive α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) glutamate receptor antagonist recently approved for focal and generalized epilepsies as an add-on therapy. It is well tolerated and effective as treatment of various pediatric epilepsy syndromes; PER does not seem to negatively affect the cognitive profile of children and adolescents, but its influence on executive functions is still to be assessed.

Methods: Our sample included 37 children aged 12-18 years, with focal pharmacoresistant epilepsy already in therapy with 2 or 3 antiepileptic drug (AED); PER was added with 1 mg/week increments up to a dose of 2-4 mg/day. Changes in executive functions were assessed by the EpiTrack Junior test. Emotional and behavioral aspects were evaluated through the interview for parents Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Both tests were performed before taking PER and after 6 and 12 months of treatment.

Results: After 12 months of PER in 22/30 patients, global score of the EpiTrack Junior test remained almost unchanged; in 7/30 patients, this score improved. The CBCL did not show significant changes in emotional or behavioral problems.

Conclusions: Adjunctive treatment with PER did not negatively affect executive functions that could also be improved. No emotional/behavioral negative effects have been reported, and this suggests a good tolerability in the middle/long term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2019.106879DOI Listing
February 2020

Understanding Childhood Neuroimmune Diseases of the Central Nervous System.

Front Pediatr 2019 19;7:511. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Department of Pediatrics, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.

Immune-mediated diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) in childhood are a heterogeneous group of rare conditions sharing the inflammatory involvement of the CNS. This review highlights the growing knowledge of childhood neuroimmune diseases that primarily affect the CNS, outlining the clinical and diagnostic features, the pathobiological mechanisms and genetics, current treatment options, and emerging challenges. The clinical spectrum of these conditions is increasingly expanded, and the underlying mechanisms of dysregulation of the immune system could vary widely. Cell-mediated and antibody-mediated disorders, infection-triggered and paraneoplastic conditions, and genetically defined mechanisms can occur in previously healthy children and can contribute to different stages of the disease. The careful evaluation of the clinical presentation and temporal course of symptoms, the specific neuroimaging and immunological findings, and the exclusion of alternative causes are mandatory in clinical practice for the syndromic diagnosis. A common feature of these conditions is that immunotherapeutic agents could modulate the clinical course and outcomes of the disease. Furthermore, specific symptomatic treatments and comprehensive multidisciplinary care are needed in the overall management. We focus on recent advances on immune-mediated demyelinating CNS disorders, autoimmune encephalitis, interferonopathies, and possible neuroimmune disorders as Rasmussen encephalitis. Better knowledge of these conditions could allow prompt diagnosis and targeted immunotherapy, to decrease morbidity and mortality as well as to improve clinical outcomes, reducing the burden of the disease due to possible long-term neuropsychiatric sequelae. Persisting controversies remain in the rigorous characterization of each specific clinical entity because of the relative rarity in children; moreover, in a large proportion of suspected neuroimmune diseases, the immune "signature" remains unidentified; treatment guidelines are mostly based on retrospective cohort studies and expert opinions; then advances in specific molecular therapies are required. In the future, a better characterization of specific immunological biomarkers may provide a useful understanding of the underlying pathobiological mechanisms of these conditions in order to individualize more tailored therapeutic options and paradigms. Multicenter collaborative research on homogeneous groups of patients who may undergo immunological studies and therapeutic trials could improve the characterization of the underlying mechanisms, the specific phenotypes, and tailored management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fped.2019.00511DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930888PMC
December 2019

Polysomnographic Findings in Fragile X Syndrome Children with EEG Abnormalities.

Behav Neurol 2019 3;2019:5202808. Epub 2019 Dec 3.

Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University "Magna Graecia", Catanzaro, Italy.

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a genetic syndrome with intellectual disability due to the loss of expression of the FMR1 gene located on chromosome X (Xq27.3). This mutation can suppress the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) with an impact on synaptic functioning and neuronal plasticity. Among associated sign and symptoms of this genetic condition, sleep disturbances have been already described, but few polysomnographic reports in pediatric age have been reported. This multicenter case-control study is aimed at assessing the sleep macrostructure and at analyzing the presence of EEG abnormalities in a cohort of FXS children. We enrolled children with FXS and, as controls, children with typical development. All subjects underwent at least 1 overnight polysomnographic recording (PSG). All recorded data obtained from patients and controls were compared. In children with FXS, all PSG-recorded parameters resulted pathological values compared to those obtained from controls, and in FXS children only, we recorded interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs), as diffuse or focal spikes and sharp waves, usually singles or in brief runs with intermittent or occasional incidence. A possible link between IEDs and alterations in the circadian sleep-wake cycle may suggest a common dysregulation of the balance between inhibitory and excitatory pathways in these patients. The alteration in sleep pattern in children with FXS may negatively impact the neuropsychological and behavioral functioning, adding increasing burn of the disease on the overall management of these patients. In this regard, treating physicians have to early detect sleep disturbances in their patients for tailored management, in order to prevent adjunctive comorbidities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2019/5202808DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6915005PMC
May 2020

The role of polytherapy in the management of epilepsy: suggestions for rational antiepileptic drug selection.

Expert Rev Neurother 2020 02 25;20(2):167-173. Epub 2019 Dec 25.

Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Mental Health, ASST-LARIANA, COMO.

: Antiepileptic polytherapy may be indicated in patients experiencing drug-resistant epilepsy. To date, there are no evidence-based criteria on how to combine different antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) together, in order to obtain the best therapeutic response.: This paper reviews the available data about the various associations of AEDs in patients undergoing polytherapy, focusing on the most effective and well-tolerated polytherapies. Moreover, some controversial aspects of this topic are addressed.: Nowadays, there are no guidelines on polytherapy in patients with epilepsy; thus, the management of pharmacoresistant epilepsy is still uncertain, except for valproate/lamotrigine combination, which seems to be the only one recommended. Data regarding mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, tolerability, and, more importantly, the analysis of the valuable clinical studies of drug combinations can help physicians to choose the best and most effective AED association for each patient.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737175.2020.1707668DOI Listing
February 2020

Gelastic seizures not associated with hypothalamic hamartoma: A long-term follow-up study.

Epilepsy Behav 2020 02 1;103(Pt A):106578. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

Department of Pediatrics, University of L'Aquila, Via Vetoio, 1. Coppito, L'Aquila, Italy. Electronic address:

Objective: The objective of the study was to describe the electroclinical features, seizure semiology, and the long-term evolution of gelastic seizures (GS) not associated with hypothalamic hamartoma (HH).

Methods: We reviewed video-electroencephalogram (video-EEG) recordings from pediatric patients with GS without HH admitted to 14 Italian epilepsy centers from 1994 to 2013. We collected information about age at onset, seizures semiology, EEG and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings, treatment, and clinical outcome in terms of seizure control after a long-term follow-up.

Results: A total of 30 pediatric patients were stratified into two groups according to neuroimaging findings: group 1 including 19 children (63.3%) with unremarkable neuroimaging and group 2 including 11 children with structural brain abnormalities (36.7%). At the follow-up, patients of group 1 showed better clinical outcome both in terms of seizure control and use of AED polytherapy. Our patients showed remarkable clinical heterogeneity, including seizure semiology and epilepsy severity. Electroencephalogram recordings showed abnormalities mainly in the frontal, temporal, and frontotemporal regions without relevant differences between the two groups. Overall, carbamazepine showed good efficacy to control GS.

Conclusions: Patients with nonlesional GS have a more favorable outcome with better drug response, less need of polytherapy, and good long-term prognosis, both in terms of seizure control and EEG findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2019.106578DOI Listing
February 2020

Monitoring And Managing Depression In Adolescents With Epilepsy: Current Perspectives.

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2019 24;15:2773-2780. Epub 2019 Sep 24.

Department of Pediatrics, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.

Epilepsy is associated with a significantly increased risk of developing depressive disorder during adolescence. On the other hand, depression is highly detected in adolescents with epilepsy. These findings highlight the importance of early identification and proper management of comorbid depression in adolescent age. The prevalence of depressive disorders in adolescents with epilepsy ranges between 8 and 35% and is higher than the general population of the same age. The relationship between epilepsy and depression is complex and potentially bidirectional, thereby suggesting a common underlying pathophysiology. Furthermore, failure to detect and treat depressive disorder mostly in adolescence could lead to several negative implications such as an increased risk of suicidal ideation or behavior and poor quality of life. A number of methods are available to detect depressive disorder, such as psychiatric or psychological assessments, structured or semi-structured interviews, and self-report screening tools. Thus, physicians should be able to regularly screen depressive symptoms in youths with epilepsy. Recently, the NDDI-E-.Y inventory has been developed from the adult NDDI-E, and has been validated in many countries. NDDI-E-Y has showed reliable validity, being a brief screening tool (12 items) that can be easily included in routine epilepsy care. The first step to be considered for the management of depressive disorder in adolescents with epilepsy is to consider potential reversible causes of anxiety and depression (i.e., a new AEDs; seizure control). Secondly, great attention has to be given to the education of the child/adolescent and his/her family, trying to improve knowledge about epilepsy as well as to decrease parental stress and improving the child's sense of competence. Pharmacological treatment should also be considered in adolescents diagnosed with depression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S192714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6765392PMC
September 2019

Relapse risk factors in anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis.

Dev Med Child Neurol 2019 09 7;61(9):1101-1107. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

Paediatric Neurology and Neurophysiology Unit, Department of Women's and Children's Health, University Hospital of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Aim: To identify factors that may predict and affect the risk of relapse in anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis.

Method: This was a retrospective study of an Italian cohort of patients with paediatric (≤18y) onset anti-NMDAR encephalitis.

Results: Of the 62 children included (39 females; median age at onset 9y 10mo, range 1y 2mo-18y; onset between 2005 and 2018), 21 per cent relapsed (median two total events per relapsing patient, range 2-4). Time to first relapse was median 31.5 months (range 7-89mo). Severity at first relapse was lower than onset (median modified Rankin Scale [mRS] 3, range 2-4, vs median mRS 5, range 3-5; admission to intensive care unit: 0/10 vs 3/10). At the survival analysis, the risk of relapsing was significantly lower in patients who received three or more different immune therapies at first disease event (hazard ratio 0.208, 95% confidence interval 0.046-0.941; p=0.042). Neurological outcome at follow-up did not differ significantly between patients with relapsing and monophasic disease (mRS 0-1 in 39/49 vs 12/13; p=0.431), although follow-up duration was significantly longer in relapsing (median 84mo, range 14-137mo) than in monophasic patients (median 32mo, range 4-108mo; p=0.002).

Interpretation: Relapses may occur in about one-fifth of children with anti-NMDAR encephalitis, are generally milder than at onset, and may span over a long period, although they do not seem to be associated with severity in the acute phase or with outcome at follow-up. Aggressive immune therapy at onset may reduce risk of relapse.

What This Paper Adds: Relapses of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis may span over a long period. Relapses were not associated with severity in the acute phase or outcome at follow-up. Aggressive immune therapy at onset appears to decrease risk of relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dmcn.14267DOI Listing
September 2019

Epileptic phenotypes in children with early-onset mitochondrial diseases.

Acta Neurol Scand 2019 Sep 6;140(3):184-193. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Department of Pediatric Neuroscience, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of epilepsy in children with early-onset mitochondrial diseases (MDs) and to evaluate the epileptic phenotypes and associated features.

Materials And Methods: Children affected by MD with onset during the first year of life were enrolled. Patients were classified according to their mitochondrial phenotype, and all findings in patients with epilepsy versus patients without were compared. The epileptic features were analyzed.

Results: The series includes 129 patients (70 females) with median age at disease onset of 3 months. The median time of follow-up was 5 years. Non-syndromic mitochondrial encephalopathy and pyruvate dehydrogenase complex deficiency were the main mitochondrial diseases associated with epilepsy (P < 0.05). Seizures occurred in 48%, and the presence of epilepsy was significantly associated with earlier age at disease onset, presence of perinatal manifestations, and early detection of developmental delay and regression (P < 0.001). Epileptic encephalopathy (EE) with spasms and EE with prominent focal seizures were the most detected epileptic syndromes (37% and 27.4%). Several seizure types were recorded in 53.2%, with the unusual association of generalized and focal epileptic pattern. Disabling epilepsy was detected in 63% and was associated with early seizure onset, presence of several seizure types, epileptic syndrome featuring EE, and the recurrence of episodes of status epilepticus and epilepsia partialis continua (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Epilepsy in children with early-onset MD may be a presenting or a prominent symptom in a multisystemic clinical presentation. Epilepsy-related factors could determine a worst seizure outcome, leading to a more severe burned of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ane.13130DOI Listing
September 2019

Pharmacokinetic considerations for anti-epileptic drugs in children.

Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol 2019 Mar 7;15(3):199-211. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

a Department of Pediatrics , University of L'Aquila , L'Aquila , Italy.

Introduction: Epilepsy is a chronic and debilitating neurological disease, with a peak of incidence in the first years of life. Today, the vast armamentarium of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) available make even more challenging to select the most appropriate AED and establish the most effective dosing regimen. In fact, AEDs pharmacokinetics is under the influence of important age-related factors which cannot be ignored. Areas covered: Physiological changes occurring during development age (different body composition, immature metabolic patterns, reduced renal activity) can significantly modify the pharmacokinetic profile of AEDs (adsorption, volume of distribution, half-life, clearance), leading to an altered treatment response. We reviewed the main pharmacokinetic characteristics of AEDs used in children, focusing on age-related factors which are of relevance when treating this patient population. Expert opinion: To deal with this pharmacokinetic variability, physicians have at their disposal two tools: 1) therapeutic drug concentration monitoring, which may help to set the optimal therapeutic regimen for each patient and to monitor eventual fluctuation, and 2) the use of extended-release drug formulations, when available. In the next future, the development of 'ad-hoc' electronic dashboard systems will represent relevant decision-support tools making the AED therapy even more individualized and precise, especially in children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17425255.2019.1575361DOI Listing
March 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

Pediatric NMDAR encephalitis: A single center observation study with a closer look at movement disorders.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2018 Mar 1;22(2):301-307. Epub 2018 Feb 1.

Department of Pediatric Neuroscience, Foundation IRCCS Neurological Institute "C. Besta", Milan, Italy.

Anti-N-Methyl-d-aspartate-receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis is the most frequent autoimmune encephalitis in pediatric age. This retrospective observational study was aimed at describing the clinical characteristics of the disease in a cohort of children and teenagers. Eighteen patients (10 females and 8 males), with a median age of 12.4 years at symptom onset were enrolled. The clinical presentation of the disease was marked by neurological manifestations in 13 patients and by severe psychiatric and behavioral symptoms in 5. The symptoms at onset varied according to the age: all the children presented with prominent neurological symptoms, whereas psychiatric symptoms were prominent in teenagers. Regardless the age, movement disorders (MDs) were distinctive symptoms during the acute stage of the disease. Several MDs might coexist in a given patient, and persist during sleep. The complexity, and the oddness of MDs often challenged their definition and the differential diagnosis with psychiatric manifestations and epileptic seizures. Stereotyped motor phenomena were the most typical MDs, and were recorded in all patients. Among them, perseveration, reproduction of acquired complex motor activities, and orofacial dyskinesia were the most distinctive features. In children, hyperkinetic MDs dominate; in teenagers, by contrast, a constellation of symptoms consistent with catatonia was the most frequent syndrome observed. The management of the several symptoms requires their accurate recognition, definition and assessment, and the knowledge of the potential side effects of antiepileptic and psychotropic drugs which could either mimic or worsen symptoms of encephalitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2018.01.012DOI Listing
March 2018

Palliative non-resective surgery for drug-resistant epilepsy.

Brain Dev 2018 06 17;40(6):512-513. Epub 2018 Jan 17.

Neurological Clinic, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.braindev.2017.12.012DOI Listing
June 2018

Perisylvian, including insular, childhood epilepsy: Presurgical workup and surgical outcome.

Epilepsia 2017 08 23;58(8):1360-1369. Epub 2017 Jun 23.

"C. Munari" Epilepsy Surgery Centre, Niguarda Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Objective: To report the presurgical workup, surgical procedures, and outcomes in a series of pediatric patients with drug-resistant epilepsy involving the perisylvian/insular regions.

Methods: We retrospectively assessed 16 pediatric patients affected by drug-resistant focal epilepsy involving perisylvian/insular regions, who consecutively underwent tailored resective surgery. All patients underwent a detailed presurgical workup, which included the analysis of the anatomoelectroclinical correlations with scalp electroencephalography (EEG) and/or with stereo-electroencephalography (SEEG), brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and comprehensive cognitive and neuropsychological evaluations. After surgery, all patients underwent serial clinical and laboratory evaluations.

Results: Focal motor seizures restricted to perioral area, associated with symptoms related to the surrounding areas (as auditory hallucinations, unpleasant paresthesia, fear, and epigastric sensation), characterized the ictal semiology in 75% of patients. In 50%, autonomic manifestations were present and in 56% subjective manifestations were reported. The 50% of the patients underwent SEEG with insular sampling to better define the epileptogenic zone. In all patients, the insular cortex was always part of the epileptogenic zone, and tailored resections also involved, with variable degree, the frontal, parietal, and temporal opercula. Preoperatively, the neuropsychological assessment revealed impairments in specific cognitive functions and mild or moderate cognitive compromise in 88% of the patients. Postoperatively, one patient had permanent slight hemiparesis. At the most recent follow-up (median 39 months), seizure outcome was satisfactory in 69% of patients: seven patients were completely seizure-free (Engel class Ia), two were free of disabling seizure (class Ic), and two had rare disabling seizures (class II). The cognitive functioning remained unchanged in 62%, and improved in 38%.

Significance: The assessment of perisylvian/insular epilepsy in children is particularly challenging. However, tailored resections based on a careful presurgical evaluation, including SEEG recording, may lead to a good seizure control and to a better overall outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.13816DOI Listing
August 2017

Electroclinical features of epilepsy in patients with InvDup(15).

Seizure 2017 Apr 9;47:87-91. Epub 2017 Mar 9.

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

Purpose: InvDup(15) syndrome is one of the most common chromosomal abnormalities associated with epilepsy. Here we review the seizure types described in InvDup(15) patients and the main electroclinical, therapeutic, and prognostic aspects of the syndrome.

Methods: A literature search of PubMed, MEDLINE, and EMBASE was performed to identify papers examining InvDup(15) syndrome and epilepsy.

Results: About 65% of the InvDup(15) patients described in the literature had multiple seizure types with a predominance (40.4%) of tonic-clonic seizures. Age at seizure onset was before 10 years in more than half of them. Patients suffered from a variety of EEG abnormalities, generalized spike activity being the most frequent. Brain MRI was unremarkable in the majority of patients. Treatment was with several anticonvulsant drugs used as mono- or polytherapy. Valproic acid was the most common treatment against generalized seizures and was often effective, although drug resistance was a major concern in a large number of cases. Finally, more than 30% of the children suffered from infantile spasms, and status epilepticus was described in nearly 20% of patients, occasionally resulting in death.

Conclusion: Seizures are very common in InvDup(15) patients, who suffer from a variety of seizure types. Information about EEG and brain MRI findings, seizure treatment, and prognosis is often poor. The overall prognosis is fair. Prospective studies of larger samples are needed, to gain further insights into the natural history of InvDup(15) syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2017.03.006DOI Listing
April 2017

Clinical and Molecular Characteristics of SLC16A2 (MCT8) Mutations in Three Families with the Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome.

Hum Mutat 2017 03 5;38(3):260-264. Epub 2017 Jan 5.

Department of Internal Medicine and Rotterdam Thyroid Center, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Mutations in the thyroid hormone transporter SLC16A2 (MCT8) cause the Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome (AHDS), characterized by severe psychomotor retardation and peripheral thyrotoxicosis. Here, we report three newly identified AHDS patients. Previously documented mutations were identified in probands 1 (p.R271H) and 2 (p.G564R), resulting in a severe clinical phenotype. A novel mutation (p.G564E) was identified in proband 3, affecting the same Gly564 residue, but resulting in a relatively mild clinical phenotype. Functional analysis in transiently transfected COS-1 and JEG-3 cells showed a near-complete inactivation of TH transport for p.G564R, whereas considerable cell-type-dependent residual transport activity was observed for p.G564E. Both mutants showed a strong decrease in protein expression levels, but differentially affected V and K values of T3 transport. Our findings illustrate that different mutations affecting the same residue may have a differential impact on SLC16A2 transporter function, which translates into differences in severity of the clinical phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23140DOI Listing
March 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
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