Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy

Common Symptoms And Causes

By: - Disease & Illness - February 17, 2011
juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME) is a type of epileptic syndrome that is more commonly noticed in childhood or adolescents between the ages 12 and 18. It is the most common form of epilepsy representing one of every ten epileptic cases. Patients with JME mostly suffer from myoclonic seizures, tonic clonic seizures or absence seizures. Epilepsy drugs are given to treat these multiple seizures.

Common symptoms:

Myoclonic seizures: It is the most common symptom of Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy and patients usually suffer from impulsive small seizures of the arms and shoulders and in rare cases the legs. Myoclonic seizures mostly occur early in the morning.

Tonic clonic seizures: Tonic clonic seizures are generalized seizures that occur when epilepsy spreads to the rest of the brain. This is primarily associated with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). TLE is a type of focal epilepsy that is characterized by repeated seizures. It most commonly occurs in adults who suffer from recurrent seizures coming from one or in some cases both temporal lobes of the brain due to weakly controlled medications. In most of the cases the seizures occur in the central part of the temporal lobe. Temporal lobe epilepsy patients experience seizures in late childhood or adolescence. Temporal lobe epilepsy patients also experience complex partial seizures and if they do not respond to medication they undergo epilepsy surgery.

Absence seizures: Absence seizures are also known as petit mal seizures, which affect the partial or whole brain. The person suffering from absence seizures becomes unresponsive and appears to be staring into space without any eye movements. No jerking or twitching occurs in patients suffering from absence seizures. Sometimes these patients go unnoticed as daydreamers.

The main cause is not known, however there are a number of factors that increase the chances of developing JME.
1. Children who did not suffer from epilepsy during childhood may develop JME later on.
2. Families with a history of epilepsy are more likely to suffer from JME.
3. JME is also due to genetics.
Sometimes Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy seizures also occur due to deprivation of sleep and drinking alcohol.

JME is usually diagnosed using Electroencephalogram (EEG), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Computed tomography (CT) scan of brain.

Typically, people without epilepsy also have sudden jerks of the legs and arms as one falls to sleep. The characteristic feature of JME is presence of convulsive seizures.

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