aetiology of idiopathic generalised epilepsies

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The idiopathic epilepsies are:

  • generalised tonic-clonic epilepsy
  • juvenile myoclonic epilepsy
  • childhood absence epilepsy
  • juvenile absence epilepsy

These idiopathic generalised epilepsy syndromes are common, accounting for 60% of all cases of epilepsy.

They are complex genetic diseases with a multi-gene mode of inheritance.

The genetic contribution to the idiopathic generalised epilepsies can be understood from the following statistics:

  • the prevelence of idiopathic generalised epilepsy in the community is 0.4%
  • the risk of epilepsy in the first degree relative of a patient with one of these syndromes is 8%
  • the concordance for dizygotic twins is 24%
  • the concordance for monozygotic twins is 65%

To date no genes for idiopathic generalised epilepsy have been identified.

Last reviewed 05/2021