Neuropsychological findings: Myoclonic astatic epilepsy (MAE) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS)

Melissa Filippini, Antonella Boni, Gloria Dazzani, Angelo Guerra, Giuseppe Gobbi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To identify a specific neuropsychological profile associated with myoclonic astatic epilepsy (MAE) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Methods: Seven patients diagnosed with MAE and four patients diagnosed with LGS were selected from patients referred to our Child Neurology Unit. The patients were assessed both clinically (awake, sleep, Holter EEG, seizures frequency, and semiology) and neuropsychologically (IQ, language, attention, visuospatial and visuomotor abilities, and behavior). One representative case of each syndrome is presented here. Results: The clinical picture of the MAE patient resembled that of an MAE condition associated with transitory epileptic encephalopathy. The neuropsychological findings suggest that electroclinical anomalies can temporarily affect cognitive and behavioral functioning. Early effective antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment was found to improve cognitive outcome. In contrast, LGS was associated with mental retardation, which persisted after seizure control. Conclusions: At present, it remains difficult to delineate a precise neuropsychological profile associated with MAE and LGS. The cognitive outcome of MAE is variable and depends on the clinical pattern. With regard to LGS, the hypothesis of a genetic predisposition underlying both the epilepsy and the mental retardation is still valid. Alternatively, exposure to subclinical electrophysiological anomalies during a critical period of cerebral development may be responsible for the mental retardation. At the time the clinical manifestations appear, drug treatment, even if effective, would have only limited impact on cognitive outcome. However, early multidisciplinary intervention may help to improve behavior and communicative abilities, enhancing the quality of life of these children and their families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-59
Number of pages4
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • Epileptic encephalopathy
  • Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
  • Myoclonic astatic epilepsy
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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