The epileptic encephalopathies

J. Helen Cross, Renzo Guerrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The term epileptic encephalopathy refers to the condition where epileptic activity, clinical or subclinical, is thought to be responsible for any disturbance of cognition, behavior, or motor control. Although currently described as a concept that may occur in any of the epilepsies, children with the severe early onset epilepsies are thought to be more at risk than others. These epilepsies have been termed the " epileptic encephalopathies." The degree to which epileptic activity is responsible for neurodevelopmental compromise may be variable in each individual case, and the degree to which this may be reversible unclear. Data from the laboratory and the clinic may provide greater insight into the degree to which epileptic activity may contribute in individual syndromes, although much is yet to be learnt. The aim in epilepsy management remains one of seizure control; in some specific circumstances this may include subclinical epileptic activity. However, avoidance of treatment that may lead to deterioration of seizure control may be equally important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-626
Number of pages8
JournalHandbook of Clinical Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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