Original article| Volume 27, ISSUE 2, P95-100, March 2005

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Relationship between severity of epilepsy and developmental outcome in Angelman syndrome


      To clarify the relationship between the degree of developmental disturbance and the severity of epilepsy in Angelman syndrome, we investigated 11 patients and measured both clinical outcomes and EEG parameters. Seven patients were followed up until after 8 years of age. Eight patients were found to have 15q11–q13 deletions.
      All patients experienced epileptic seizures and all but one displayed nonconvulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) during the period of observation. Epileptic seizures, including NCSE, disappeared by around 8 years of age. In addition, specific epileptic discharges, as measured by EEG, tended to subside with age. Although development seemed almost normal or only slightly delayed during the first 6 months of life, all patients eventually developed severe retardation. Two patients displayed very severe retardation and were unable to comprehend language or walk independently at the last follow-up. Only one patient was able to speak a few meaningful words. In one of the most severely affected patients, who showed the earliest onset of seizures and NCSE, it is possible that the repetitive bouts of NCSE might be responsible for the severe developmental outcome. However, the other patient with particularly severe retardation did not experience NCSE, while the patient with the most favorable outcome had repetitive episodes of NCSE.
      Therefore, we conclude that the severity of developmental disturbance in Angelman syndrome is not necessarily related to the degree of epilepsy. However, intensive therapy for NCSE might still be justified because there are some patients in whom NCSE results in a transient and sometimes permanent decline in mental and motor functioning.


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