What are the EEG changes characteristic of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME)?

Updated: Oct 01, 2020
  • Author: Raj D Sheth, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is the most common epilepsy syndrome presenting with generalized tonic-clonic seizures in a patient aged 12-30 years who is otherwise neurologically normal. The imaging findings are normal. This condition may account for as many as 10% of all patients with epilepsy. In susceptible persons, sleep deprivation often precipitates seizures.

Typically, the patient may experience myoclonic jerks in the morning, although many patients do not mention that they are having myoclonic seizures until asked specifically about body jerks.

Approximately 15% of patients have associated juvenile absence epilepsy or generalized tonic-clonic seizures upon awakening. Often, the diagnosis is not made in a definitive fashion, which is unfortunate, as a correct diagnosis helps guide management. This, in turn, affects prognosis, because the drugs used in this entity differ from those used in most other seizure types. [8]

The interictal electroencephalogram (EEG) shows a normal background with frequent generalized polyspike and wave discharges that may be anteriorly dominant or diffuse (see the following images. By definition, polyspike and wave discharges have at least 3 spikelike components in them. [9]

For more information, see Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy.

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