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Genetic Testing in Children With Epilepsy

Wusthoff, Courtney J. MD; Olson, Donald M. MD

CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology:
doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000431393.39099.89
Ethical Perspectives

Genetic testing is now available clinically for several epilepsies. Neurologists increasingly face decisions about diagnostic testing in affected patients and should carefully deliberate the ethical considerations associated with genetic testing. The merits of ordering a genetic test are largely based on the utility for guiding clinical care, providing a prognosis, estimating recurrence risk, and identifying comorbidities. At the same time, a decision to pursue any genetic testing also requires evaluation of associated ethical concerns. This case illustrates ethical challenges that arise when considering genetic testing for a pediatric patient with epilepsy.

Author Information

Address correspondence to Dr Courtney J. Wusthoff, Stanford University, Division of Child Neurology, 750 Welch Road, Suite 317, Palo Alto, CA 94304,

Relationship Disclosure: Dr Wusthoff has served as a litigation consultant for cases in the United Kingdom. Dr Olson has served as an expert witness consultant for litigation involving pediatric neurology issues.

Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Drs Wusthoff and Olson report no disclosures.

© 2013 American Academy of Neurology