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J Child Neurol. 2016 Mar;31(4):523-32. doi: 10.1177/0883073815599262. Epub 2015 Aug 13.

Diagnostic Approach to Genetic Causes of Early-Onset Epileptic Encephalopathy.

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Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatric Genetics, Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey
Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatric Genetics, Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey.


Epileptic encephalopathies are characterized by recurrent clinical seizures and prominent interictal epileptiform discharges seen during the early infantile period. Although epileptic encephalopathies are mostly associated with structural brain defects and inherited metabolic disorders, pathogenic gene mutations may also be involved in the development of epileptic encephalopathies even when no clear genetic inheritance patterns or consanguinity exist. The most common epileptic encephalopathies are Ohtahara syndrome, early myoclonic encephalopathy, epilepsy of infancy with migrating focal seizures, West syndrome and Dravet syndrome, which are usually unresponsive to traditional antiepileptic medication. Many of the diagnoses describe the phenotype of these electroclinical syndromes, but not the underlying causes. To date, approximately 265 genes have been defined in epilepsy and several genes including STXBP1, ARX, SLC25A22, KCNQ2, CDKL5, SCN1A, and PCDH19 have been found to be associated with early-onset epileptic encephalopathies. In this review, we aimed to present a diagnostic approach to primary genetic causes of early-onset epileptic encephalopathies.


Dravet syndrome; Ohtahara syndrome; early myoclonic encephalopathy; early-onset epileptic encephalopathy; infantile spasm

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