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Epilepsia. 2006;47 Suppl 2:53-5.

The natural history of myoclonic astatic epilepsy (Doose syndrome) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

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  • 1University Children's Hospital, Department of Neuropediatrics, Kiel, Germany. stephani@pedneuro.uni-kiel.de


The purpose of this article is to present a short review of the natural history of myoclonic astatic epilepsy (MAE; Doose syndrome) and the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). In the 1989 classification of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE, 1989), MAE and LGS were initially included in group 2.2: "Cryptogenic or symptomatic generalized epilepsies and syndromes." The subsequent classification of the Proposed Diagnostic Scheme for People with Epileptic Seizures and with Epilepsy (see Ref. 8) placed MAE in axis 3 in the "generalized epilepsy" group and LGS, severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI or Dravet syndrome) and atypical benign partial epilepsy/pseudo-Lennox syndrome (ABPE/PLS) in the "epileptic encephalopathy" group. The semiology of MAE and LGS and their differential diagnosis from SMEI and ABPE/PLS are described. Before the onset of SMEI, MAE, and ABPE/PLS, the development of the child is usually normal. In contrast, in LGS, development is frequently retarded at the onset, depending on the etiopathogenesis of the underlying brain disease. The course of MAE is highly variable with regard to seizure outcome (complete remission in some cases, persistent epilepsy in others) and cognitive development (normal or delayed). The course of LGS and SMEI is generally poor, both with regard to the epilepsy and to the cognitive development whereas the course and seizure outcome of ABPE/PLS is favorable; the patients will be seizure-free at puberty. However, the neuropsychological outcome is less favorable; most patients remain mentally retarded.

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