Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy

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In this syndrome, myoclonic and generalized tonic-clonic seizures occur characteristically in the morning in the first one to two hours after awakening. Seizures may also occur on awakening from a nap but are rare at other times during the day (Dinner, 1987). Sleep deprivation and alcohol appear to be an extremely important precipitant for seizures in this syndrome.

The characteristic EEG abnormality in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy consists of spike-wave complexes at 4-6 Hz in a generalized distribution, as well as polyspikes. The discharges increase markedly at sleep onset and on awakening but are virtually absent in NREM and REM sleep and while the patient is awake.

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