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JUVENILE MYOCLONIC EPILEPSY

OVERVIEW

This syndrome is one of the most common genetic generalized epilepsies and is characterized by myoclonic and generalized convulsive seizures in an otherwise normal adolescent or adult. The EEG shows generalized spike-and-wave and polyspike-and-wave. Photosensitivity is common.

NOTE A genetic generalized epilepsy is an epilepsy with generalized seizures associated with generalized epileptiform EEG patterns, such as generalized spike wave activity.

Clinical context

This syndrome is characterized by myoclonic seizures and generalized convulsions that have onset between 8 to 25 years of age. A small number (approximately 5%) of cases evolve into this syndrome from childhood absence epilepsy. Both males and females are equally affected. Antecedent and birth history is normal. Development and cognition are typically normal. Neurological examination and head size are normal. A history of febrile seizures is seen in 5-10%.

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