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Epilepsy Res. 2000 Feb;38(2-3):127-32.

Familial temporal lobe epilepsy autosomal dominant inheritance in a large pedigree from southern Italy.

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Cattedra ed U.O. di Neurologia, Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia di Catanzaro, Policlinico Mater Domini, Catanzaro, Italy.


To further elucidate the inheritance pattern and range of phenotypic manifestations of benign familial temporal lobe epilepsy (FTLE), we report a large family recently identified in southern Italy. There were 8 patients (4 men), ranging in age from 31 to 68 years in three generations. One affected patient was deceased at the time of the study. Genealogical study strongly supported autosomal dominant inheritance with incomplete penetrance, as three unaffected individuals transmitted the disease. Clinical anticipation could not be assessed because of the ascertainment method. Male to male transmission occurred. Identifiable antecedents for seizures were present in only two patients, who had a simple febrile convulsion and a closed head trauma, respectively. Migraine was overrepresented in this family. Onset of seizures ranged from 17 to 52 years (mean: 27 years). All patients had weekly simple partial seizures suggestive of temporal origin with vegetative or experiential phenomena. Very rare partial complex seizures occurred in 6/7 patients. One had two generalized nocturnal seizures as well. Two had previously been misdiagnosed as having gastritis or panic attacks, and one had not been diagnosed. Interictal anteromesiotemporal spiking was seen in 5/7 patients, and occurred mostly during NREM sleep. Neurological examination, brain CT or MR scans were normal. Antiepileptic medication always controlled the seizures.

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