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Trait impulsivity correlates with active myoclonic seizures in genetic generalized epilepsy

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Marte Syvertsen, Jeanette Koht, Kaja Selmer, Ulla Enger, Deb K. Pal, Anna Smith

Original languageEnglish
Article number107260
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
PublishedNov 2020

King's Authors


Background: Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is a common subtype of genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) arising in adolescence and is often associated with executive function (EF) deficits. Some EF components like response inhibition have been extensively evaluated in JME, but few studies have focused upon trait impulsivity or compared between GGE subtypes. The aim of the present study was to compare the association of trait impulsivity in JME with other GGE subtypes. Methods: Patients with GGE aged between 14 and 40 years (n = 137) were divided into those with JME (n = 92) and those with other GGEs (n = 45: 8 childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), 22 juvenile absence epilepsy (JAE), and 15 epilepsy with generalized tonic–clonic seizures only (EGTCS)). The study participants were recruited through medical records of the general population of Buskerud County and the neighboring municipalities, covering 477,000 people or 9.1% of Norway's total population. All participants underwent a clinical interview including the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS), an established measure of trait impulsivity. We controlled for other potential predictors of BIS score using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Results: There were no differences between JME and other types of GGE for BIS scores, but the presence of myoclonic seizures within the last year, irrespective of GGE subtype, was independently associated with significantly increased behavioral impulsivity. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that trait impulsivity in GGE is most strongly related to the recent occurrence of myoclonic seizures rather than GGE subtype.

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