Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a severe condition characterized by recurrent seizures (epilepsy) that begin early in life. Affected individuals have multiple types of seizures, a particular pattern of brain activity (called slow spike-and-wave) measured by a test called an electroencephalogram (EEG), and impaired mental abilities.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome can have many different causes. The disorder likely has a genetic component, although the specific genetic factors are not well understood.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome affects an estimated 1 to 2 per million people. This condition accounts for less than 5 percent of all cases of childhood epilepsy. For unknown reasons, it appears to be more common in males than in females.
Most cases of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome are sporadic, which means they occur in people with no history of the disorder in their family. When Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is associated with a genetic change, the variant is usually not inherited but occurs as a random (de novo) event during the formation of reproductive cells (eggs or sperm) in an affected person's parent or in early embryonic development. However, 3 to 30 percent of people with this condition have a family history of some type of epilepsy, indicating that inherited genetic factors may play a role in some cases of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Published Date: September 14, 2022Published By: National Institutes of Health