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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Dr Susan Duncan

Western General Hospital Edinburgh

Neuropsychological profiles of patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) and their siblings.

JME constitutes 12 percent of all epilepsies. In some cases, there are subtle abnormalities in the frontal lobes on MRI scanning, and there has been speculation that JME is associated with frontal lobe or executive dysfunction. The frontal lobes are important for planning, problem solving, memory and social interactions. They provide the motivation and cognitive capacity that get us through our daily tasks, and generate language. All these roles are called executive functions.

The study will address three questions:

  1. Are people with JME more likely to exhibit signs of executive dysfunction using routine psychometric tests compared with a sibling and control? Siblings are included because there is a genetic aspect to JME. Close relatives can have abnormal EEGs. We want to know if they have subtle executive dysfunction.
  2. Are people with JME more likely to display behaviours in keeping with executive dysfunction compared to a control and sibling?
  3. Does mental effort trigger brief epileptic discharges in JME patients, potentially disrupting how new memories are formed? This will have implications for how people with JME learn.

The study will provide insights enabling the development of patient centred services for people with epilepsy with executive dysfunction.

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