What is the definition of Myoclonic Epilepsy?

Myoclonic epilepsy is a type of seizure disorder characterized by quick jerking movements due to uncontrolled muscle contractions caused by abnormal electrical impulses in the brain. Unlike grand mal (tonic-clonic) seizures, during a myoclonic seizure the affected individual does not lose consciousness. There are several types of myoclonic epilepsy, including infantile spasms, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, and progressive myoclonic epilepsy, among others.

What are the symptoms for Myoclonic Epilepsy?

Symptoms of myoclonic epilepsy depend on the type and usually affects the neck, shoulders, and upper arms. Symptoms of myoclonic epilepsy may include quick, uncontrolled muscle jerks; rhythmic movements; arms flinging outward; knees pulling up; body stiffening; and unusual clumsiness. Myoclonic seizures may occur with atonic seizures, which cause limp muscles. When myoclonic epilepsy worsens, it is known as progressive myoclonic epilepsy, which is a rare seizure disorder characterized by both myoclonic and tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures.

What are the current treatments for Myoclonic Epilepsy?

Treatment for myoclonic epilepsy depends on the type, frequency, and severity of the seizures and may include anti-seizure (anti-epileptic) medications, ketogenic diet, vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) implantation, and surgery.