Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a severe type of epilepsy that may first appear in children under four years of age. People with this condition may experience tonic, atonic, atypical, and myoclonic seizures. Causes of this syndrome include brain malformations, severe head injuries, and infections of the central nervous system. However, in approximately one third of cases, no cause can be determined. Treatment includes antiepileptic medications such as valproate, lamotrigine, felbamate, or topiramate.

What Is Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome?

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy. Seizures usually begin before four years of age.

What Are the Symptoms?

Seizure types, which vary among patients, include:
  • Tonic (stiffening of the body, upward deviation of the eyes, dilation of the pupils, and altered respiratory patterns)
  • Atonic (brief loss of muscle tone and consciousness, causing abrupt falls)
  • Atypical absence (staring spells)
  • Myoclonic (sudden muscle jerks).
There may be periods of frequent seizures mixed with brief, relatively seizure-free periods.
Most children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome experience some degree of impaired intellectual functioning or information processing, along with developmental delays and behavioral disturbances.

What Causes It?

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome can be caused by:
  • Brain malformations
  • Perinatal asphyxia
  • Severe head injury
  • Central nervous system infection
  • Inherited degenerative or metabolic conditions.
In 30 to 35 percent of cases, no cause can be found.
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