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Infantile, Childhood, and Adolescent Epilepsies

Wirrell, Elaine MD

CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology: February 2016 - Volume 22 - Issue 1, Epilepsy - p 60–93
doi: 10.1212/CON.0000000000000269
Review Articles

ABSTRACT Purpose of Review: Infantile, childhood, and adolescent epilepsies comprise a diverse group of entities. Careful characterization of epilepsy into a specific electroclinical syndrome or etiology assists greatly in understanding both the natural history of the seizure disorder (pharmacoresistant versus pharmacoresponsive and self-limited versus lifelong) and the best therapeutic options for the child.

Recent Findings: Tremendous growth has been seen in the understanding of both genetic factors predisposing to epilepsy and neuroimaging techniques. Additionally, a number of studies have focused on the efficacy of certain therapies in specific syndromes or etiologies.

Summary: This article reviews both common epilepsy syndromes (including benign focal epilepsy of childhood, absence epilepsy, and juvenile myoclonic epilepsy) and the rarer syndromes with associated management implications (eg, Dravet syndrome, progressive myoclonic epilepsy, and mitochondrial disorders) and addresses genetic and metabolic investigations.

Address correspondence to Dr Elaine Wirrell, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55905,

Relationship Disclosure: Dr Wirrell receives royalties from UpToDate, Inc, and research support from the American Epilepsy Society Infrastructure Award and the Dravet Syndrome Foundation.

Unlabeled Use of Product/Investigational Use Disclosure: Dr Wirrell reports no disclosure.

© 2016 American Academy of Neurology
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