Syndromes of Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsies Not Recognized by the International League Against Epilepsy


  • This supplement has been supported through an unrestricted grant from UCB S.A., manufacturers of levetiracetam (Keppra®).

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. C. P. Panayiotopoulos, Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and Epilepsies, St. Thomas' Hospital, SE1 7EH, London, U.K. E-mail:


Summary:  This chapter assesses probable epileptic syndromes within the idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGE) that have not yet been recognized by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). Jeavons syndrome, a purely reflex IGE that predominantly manifests with eyelid myoclonia and electroencephalogram (EEG) abnormalities on eye closure, is the most distinct and undisputed of the syndromes. Another is autosomal-dominant cortical tremor, myoclonus, and epilepsy, a purely monogenic disorder that has been documented in numerous reports, mainly from Japan and Italy. Perioral myclonia with absences is certainly a seizure type that may constitute an IGE syndrome when it is associated with a number of other clinical and EEG manifestations. Similarly, many patients suffer for years from phantom absences, a type of mild absence, before a first generalized tonic-clonic seizure that usually occurs in adulthood. Both perioral myoclonia with absences and phantom absences are clinically significant because they are probably lifelong and are associated with a very high incidence (around 50%) of absence status epilepticus that may escape diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The position of early childhood IGE, which manifests mainly with typical absence seizures that are distinctly different from childhood absence epilepsy and other recognized IGE syndromes, is less clear. The prevalence of these syndromes is significant. Their identification allows better clinical management and is important for genetic research and counselling. In addition, their recognition permits application of exclusion criteria for a more purified definition and a better understanding of the true boundaries of the other IGE syndromes already accepted by the ILAE.