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Brain Dev. 2012 Jun;34(6):469-77. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2011.08.009. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Maturation of EEG oscillations in children with sodium channel mutations.

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Department of Neurology, Neuroscience Center at Dartmouth, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03756, USA. Gregory.L.Holmes@Dartmouth.Edu


Dravet syndrome (DS) is a severe epileptic encephalopathy beginning in infancy in which children have difficult to control seizures and cognitive impairment. The majority of children with DS carry mutations of the gene Scn1a, which codes for the alpha subunit of the type 1 voltage-gated sodium channel and is important for the function of interneurons. Interneurons have a critical role in the generation of brain rhythms involved in cognitive processing. We hypothesized that children with DS with Scn1a mutations would have abnormal oscillatory activity. To address this hypothesis, we used EEG power spectral analysis during the wakening to determine if frequency and power are altered in 23 EEGs from 12 children with DS compared to 18 age-matched controls. While there were few differences between the EEG power spectra in DS and controls in children under 2years, in older children group differences were apparent. In DS children between 3 and 5years there were significant decreases in percentage of alpha power compared to controls and in DS children over age 6years there was a marked increase of theta and decrease of alpha compared to controls. Developmental status paralleled the power spectral analysis with an increasing likelihood of having severe cognitive problems with increasing age. These results demonstrate that Scn1a mutations result in an age-dependent alteration in oscillatory process. Such abnormalities in developmental progression of oscillations may play an important role in poor cognitive development in children with DS.

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