Frontal lobe function and structure in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy: a comprehensive review of neuropsychological and imaging data

Author(s): Wandschneider B, Thompson PJ, Vollmar C, Koepp MJ


Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is the most common idiopathic epilepsy syndrome and is considered a benign seizure disorder that responds well to antiepileptic drug treatment, in particular sodium valproate. By definition, routine brain imaging shows no abnormalities, but advanced imaging studies have identified functional and structural abnormalities in the frontal cortex and thalamus. Neuropsychological studies revealed subtle cognitive deficits in patients with JME, mainly implicating the frontal lobes. These findings are in keeping with anecdotal reports of behavioral problems in JME. Cognitive dysfunction in otherwise healthy siblings of patients with JME and a high heritability support the concept of a genetically determined thalamo-frontocortical network dysfunction, accounting for the cognitive impairment and cognitively triggered "motor seizures."

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