Idiopathic generalized epilepsies of adolescence

Massimiliano Beghi, Ettore Beghi, Cesare Maria Cornaggia, Giuseppe Gobbi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence of idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGEs) has been assessed as being 15-20% of all epilepsies. The seizure types in IGEs are typical absences, myoclonic jerks, and generalized tonic-clonic seizures (TCS), alone or in varying combinations and with variable severity. The seizures tend to be more frequent on awakening and with sleep deprivation. This group of clinical conditions includes among others, age-related epilepsy syndromes of adolescence such as juvenile absence epilepsy (JAE), juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME), and IGE with generalized TCS or epilepsy with grand mal on awakening (EGMA). The classification of IGEs follows two schools of thought; one maintains that IGEs are a group of different and separate syndromes while the other suggests that IGEs are one biological continuum. Patients with IGEs may have mild impairment of cognitive functions, especially verbal memory and other frontal lobe functions, despite a normal IQ, and some seem to have characteristic personality traits, although further studies are needed to support this theory. They appear to lack a degree of self-control, to neglect their physical needs, and are poorly compliant with therapy. Some patients become obstinate and are impressionable. The cognitive and behavioral aspects of these patients suggest an involvement of frontal lobes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-110
Number of pages4
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • Absence
  • Adolescence
  • Idiopathic generalized epilepsy
  • Myoclonic
  • Tonic-clonic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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