CNTN2 mutations and autosomal recessive cortical myoclonic tremor with epilepsy

Epilepsy & Tremor. The familial occurrence of epileptic seizures and chronic, non-progressive myoclonic tremor represents a peculiar genetic epilepsy syndrome for which the gene still remains elusive. Several families have been reported with autosomal dominant inheritance, and linkage to chromosomes 2, 5 and 8 have been reported. Now, the story regarding this familial syndrome gets even more enigmatic. In a recent paper in Brain, Stogmann and collaborators identify CNTN2 as the causative gene for a recessive form of cortical myoclonic tremor with epilepsy. Continue reading

CACNA1A variants as genetic modifiers in Dravet Syndrome

Genetic modifiers. Dravet Syndrome, formerly Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (SMEI) is a severe epileptic encephalopathy starting in the first year of life. More than 80% of cases of Dravet Syndrome are caused by loss-of-functions mutations in SCN1A, a voltage-gated sodium channel predominantly expressed on GABAergic interneurons. Now, a recent paper in Neurobiological Disorders investigates the role of CACNA1A variants as possible genetic modifiers in Dravet Syndrome. Continue reading

Traveling with Lennox – myoclonic jerks, West Syndrome and the 34th meridian

Where is West Syndrome? Earlier this week while browsing through the contents of Lennox’s book, I wondered where his description of West Syndrome was hidden. Lennox is very careful in reviewing the historical data on epilepsy, but for some reason, he did not mention the report by William James West, who described a particular type of epilepsy in his own son that would later be named after him. Then, when I had almost forgotten that I was on the lookout for West Syndrome, I stumbled upon it in the chapter on myoclonic seizures. Continue reading