Medicine (Austin & Northern Health) - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 20
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Severe infantile onset developmental and epileptic encephalopathy caused by mutations in autophagy gene WDR45
    Carvill, GL ; Liu, A ; Mandelstam, S ; Schneider, A ; Lacroix, A ; Zemel, M ; McMahon, JM ; Bello-Espinosa, L ; Mackay, M ; Wallace, G ; Waak, M ; Zhang, J ; Yang, X ; Malone, S ; Zhang, Y-H ; Mefford, HC ; Scheffer, IE (WILEY, 2018-01-01)
    Heterozygous de novo variants in the autophagy gene, WDR45, are found in beta-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration (BPAN). BPAN is characterized by adolescent onset dementia and dystonia; 66% patients have seizures. We asked whether WDR45 was associated with developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE). We performed next generation sequencing of WDR45 in 655 patients with developmental and epileptic encephalopathies. We identified 3/655 patients with DEE plus 4 additional patients with de novo WDR45 pathogenic variants (6 truncations, 1 missense); all were female. Six presented with DEE and 1 with early onset focal seizures and profound regression. Median seizure onset was 12 months, 6 had multiple seizure types, and 5/7 had focal seizures. Three patients had magnetic resonance susceptibility-weighted imaging; blooming was noted in the globus pallidi and substantia nigra in the 2 older children aged 4 and 9 years, consistent with iron accumulation. We show that de novo pathogenic variants are associated with a range of developmental and epileptic encephalopathies with profound developmental consequences.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Sleep problems in Dravet syndrome: a modifiable comorbidity
    Licheni, SH ; Mcmahon, JM ; Schneider, AL ; Davey, MJ ; Scheffer, IE (WILEY, 2018-02-01)
    AIM: Many children with severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathies experience significant sleep disturbance, causing major disruption to the family's quality of life. We aimed to determine the frequency and nature of sleep problems in individuals with Dravet syndrome. METHODS: The Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children and a seizure questionnaire were distributed to the parents/guardians of 96 patients with Dravet syndrome. Sixteen patients had two nights of home oximetry. RESULTS: Fifty-seven out of 96 questionnaires were completed. Forty-three out of 57 (75%) individuals had sleep problems. Twenty-five out of 57 (44%) individuals had an abnormal total sleep score, with difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep (22 out of 57, 39%), sleep-wake transition disorders (20 out of 57, 35%), and sleep breathing disorders (19 out of 57, 33%). Twenty-two out of 57 (39%) individuals took medication to assist sleep, predominantly melatonin (n=14). Thirty out of 57 (53%) recently had nocturnal seizures. Overnight oximetry showed 14 out of 16 (88%) had a higher oxygen desaturation index (>3%), and six out of 16 (38%) had higher mean pulse rates than normative values. Home oximetry was normal or inconclusive in all patients. INTERPRETATION: Seventy-five per cent of individuals with Dravet syndrome had sleep problems, highlighting the importance of routinely assessing sleep and initiating appropriate behavioural and pharmacological interventions to improve the patient and family's quality of life. A high oxygen desaturation index and mean pulse rates on pulse oximetry may reflect unrecognized nocturnal seizures. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: More than 70% of patients with Dravet syndrome have sleep problems. Difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep was most common, particularly in those older than 20 years. Second most common were sleep-wake transition disorders, affecting more than 50% of those younger than 5 years. Sleep breathing disorders were a frequent problem across all age groups. Oximetry was not diagnostic of sleep-disordered breathing or obvious seizures.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Defining Dravet syndrome: An essential pre-requisite for precision medicine trials
    Li, W ; Schneider, AL ; Scheffer, IE (WILEY, 2021-08-02)
    OBJECTIVE: The classical description of Dravet syndrome, the prototypic developmental and epileptic encephalopathy, is of a normal 6-month-old infant presenting with a prolonged, febrile, hemiclonic seizure and showing developmental slowing after age 1 year. SCN1A pathogenic variants are found in >80% of patients. Many patients have atypical features resulting in diagnostic delay and inappropriate therapy. We aimed to provide an evidence-based definition of SCN1A-Dravet syndrome in readiness for precision medicine trials. METHODS: Epilepsy patients were recruited to the University of Melbourne Epilepsy Genetics Research Program between 1995 and 2020 by neurologists from around the world. Patients with SCN1A pathogenic variants were reviewed and only those with Dravet syndrome were included. Clinical data, including seizure and developmental course, were analyzed in all patients with SCN1A-Dravet syndrome. RESULTS: Two hundred and five patients were studied at a median age of 8.5 years (range 10 months to 60 years); 25 were deceased. The median seizure-onset age was 5.7 months (range 1.5-20.6 months). Initial seizures were tonic-clonic (52%) and hemiclonic (35%), with only 55% being associated with fever. Only 34% of patients presented with status epilepticus (seizure lasting ≥30 minutes). Median time between first and second seizure was 30 days (range 4 hours to 8 months), and seven patients (5%) had at least 6 months between initial seizures. Median ages at onset of second and third seizure types were 9.1 months (range 3 months-25.4 years) and 15.5 months (range 4 months-8.2 years), respectively. Developmental slowing occurred prior to 12 months in 27%. SIGNIFICANCE: An evidence-based definition of SCN1A-Dravet syndrome is essential for early diagnosis. We refine the spectrum of Dravet syndrome, based on patterns of seizure onset, type, and progression. Understanding of the full spectrum of SCN1A-Dravet syndrome presentation is essential for early diagnosis and optimization of treatment, especially as precision medicine trials become available.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    BRAT1 encephalopathy: a recessive cause of epilepsy of infancy with migrating focal seizures
    Scheffer, IE ; Boysen, KE ; Schneider, AL ; Myers, CT ; Mehaffey, MG ; Rochtus, AM ; Yuen, Y-P ; Ronen, G ; Chak, WK ; Gill, D ; Poduri, A ; Mefford, HC (WILEY, 2019-12-23)
    Epilepsy of infancy with migrating focal seizures (EIMFS), one of the most severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathy syndromes, is characterized by seizures that migrate from one hemisphere to the other. EIMFS is genetically heterogeneous with 33 genes. We report five patients with EIMFS caused by recessive BRAT1 variants, identified via next generation sequencing. Recessive pathogenic variants in BRAT1 cause the rigidity and multifocal seizure syndrome, lethal neonatal with hypertonia, microcephaly, and intractable multifocal seizures. The epileptology of BRAT1 encephalopathy has not been well described. All five patients were profoundly impaired with seizure onset in the first week of life and focal seizure migration between hemispheres. We show that BRAT1 is an important recessive cause of EIMFS with onset in the first week of life, profound impairment, and early death. Early recognition of this genetic aetiology will inform management and reproductive counselling.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    SCN1A Variants in vaccine-related febrile seizures: A prospective study
    Damiano, JA ; Deng, L ; Li, W ; Burgess, R ; Schneider, AL ; Crawford, NW ; Buttery, J ; Gold, M ; Richmond, P ; Macartney, KK ; Hildebrand, MS ; Scheffer, IE ; Wood, N ; Berkovic, SF (WILEY, 2019-12-12)
    OBJECTIVE: Febrile seizures may follow vaccination. Common variants in the sodium channel gene, SCN1A, are associated with febrile seizures, and rare pathogenic variants in SCN1A cause the severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathy Dravet syndrome. Following vaccination, febrile seizures may raise the specter of poor outcome and inappropriately implicate vaccination as the cause. We aimed to determine the prevalence of SCN1A variants in children having their first febrile seizure either proximal to vaccination or unrelated to vaccination compared to controls. METHODS: We performed SCN1A sequencing, blind to clinical category, in a prospective cohort of children presenting with their first febrile seizure as vaccine proximate (n = 69) or as non-vaccine proximate (n = 75), and children with no history of seizures (n = 90) recruited in Australian pediatric hospitals. RESULTS: We detected 2 pathogenic variants in vaccine-proximate cases (p.R568X and p.W932R), both of whom developed Dravet syndrome, and 1 in a non-vaccine-proximate case (p.V947L) who had febrile seizures plus from 9 months. All had generalized tonic-clonic seizures lasting >15 minutes. We also found enrichment of a reported risk allele, rs6432860-T, in children with febrile seizures compared to controls (odds ratio = 1.91, 95% confidence interval = 1.31-2.81). INTERPRETATION: Pathogenic SCN1A variants may be identified in infants with vaccine-proximate febrile seizures. As early diagnosis of Dravet syndrome is essential for optimal management and outcome, SCN1A sequencing in infants with prolonged febrile seizures, proximate to vaccination, should become routine. ANN NEUROL 2020;87:281-288.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Expanding the genetic and phenotypic relevance of KCNB1 variants in developmental and epileptic encephalopathies: 27 new patients and overview of the literature
    Bar, C ; Barcia, G ; Jennesson, M ; Le Guyader, G ; Schneider, A ; Mignot, C ; Lesca, G ; Breuillard, D ; Montomoli, M ; Keren, B ; Doummar, D ; de Villemeur, TB ; Afenjar, A ; Marey, I ; Gerard, M ; Isnard, H ; Poisson, A ; Dupont, S ; Berquin, P ; Meyer, P ; Genevieve, D ; De Saint Martin, A ; El Chehadeh, S ; Chelly, J ; Guet, A ; Scalais, E ; Dorison, N ; Myers, CT ; Mefford, HC ; Howell, KB ; Marini, C ; Freeman, JL ; Nica, A ; Terrone, G ; Sekhara, T ; Lebre, A-S ; Odent, S ; Sadleir, LG ; Munnich, A ; Guerrini, R ; Scheffer, IE ; Kabashi, E ; Nabbout, R (WILEY, 2020-01-01)
    Developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE) refer to a heterogeneous group of devastating neurodevelopmental disorders. Variants in KCNB1 have been recently reported in patients with early-onset DEE. KCNB1 encodes the α subunit of the delayed rectifier voltage-dependent potassium channel Kv 2.1. We review the 37 previously reported patients carrying 29 distinct KCNB1 variants and significantly expand the mutational spectrum describing 18 novel variants from 27 unreported patients. Most variants occur de novo and mainly consist of missense variants located on the voltage sensor and the pore domain of Kv 2.1. We also report the first inherited variant (p.Arg583*). KCNB1-related encephalopathies encompass a wide spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders with predominant language difficulties and behavioral impairment. Eighty-five percent of patients developed epilepsies with variable syndromes and prognosis. Truncating variants in the C-terminal domain are associated with a less-severe epileptic phenotype. Overall, this report provides an up-to-date review of the mutational and clinical spectrum of KCNB1, strengthening its place as a causal gene in DEEs and emphasizing the need for further functional studies to unravel the underlying mechanisms.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Perception of impact of Dravet syndrome on children and caregivers in multiple countries: looking beyond seizures
    Nabbout, R ; Auvin, S ; Chiron, C ; Thiele, E ; Cross, H ; Scheffer, IE ; Schneider, AL ; Guerrini, R ; Williamson, N ; Irwin, J ; Mistry, A ; Williamson, N ; Grimes, R ; Bennett, B (WILEY, 2019-10-01)
    AIM: To assess the relevance and generalizability across countries of concepts of the impact of Dravet syndrome beyond seizures, as recognized by families. METHOD: Caregivers of children with Dravet syndrome in four countries (Australia [n=8]; USA, UK, and Italy [all n=4]) participated in 1-hour qualitative telephone interviews, identifying key Dravet syndrome concepts. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and, where necessary, translated into English for thematic analysis. Conceptual saturation was assessed and findings compared to the previously developed French conceptual disease model. RESULTS: The most common seizure types reported by caregivers were tonic-clonic, absence, or focal-impaired awareness (localized/partial). Fever and physical activity were the most commonly reported triggers. Patient-relevant impacts included impairment in cognition, motor skills, communication, social skills, and behavioural functioning. Caregivers consistently reported negative social, physical, and family impacts. Concepts identified in the interviews showed similarity with the French conceptual model. Minor differences between countries are likely to reflect variations in health care systems. INTERPRETATION: Findings in Italy, Australia, UK, and USA confirm that the key impacts of Dravet syndrome on children and caregivers identified in France are generalizable across countries. Key symptom and impact concepts relevant to children and parents should be targeted as critical outcomes in new therapy evaluations. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: Relevance of the impact of Dravet syndrome on children and caregivers was confirmed across countries. Patient and caregiver-relevant Dravet syndrome impacts contribute to poorer health-related quality of life. Indirect seizure impacts were reported to be as important as direct impacts. Country-specific differences in concepts probably reflect differences in health care systems.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    A population-based cost-effectiveness study of early genetic testing in severe epilepsies of infancy
    Howell, KB ; Eggers, S ; Dalziel, K ; Riseley, J ; Mandelstam, S ; Myers, CT ; McMahon, JM ; Schneider, A ; Carvill, GL ; Mefford, HC ; Scheffer, IE ; Harvey, AS (WILEY, 2018-06-01)
    OBJECTIVE: The severe epilepsies of infancy (SEI) are a devastating group of disorders that pose a major care and economic burden on society; early diagnosis is critical for optimal management. This study sought to determine the incidence and etiologies of SEI, and model the yield and cost-effectiveness of early genetic testing. METHODS: A population-based study was undertaken of the incidence, etiologies, and cost-effectiveness of a whole exome sequencing-based gene panel (targeted WES) in infants with SEI born during 2011-2013, identified through electroencephalography (EEG) and neonatal databases. SEI was defined as seizure onset before age 18 months, frequent seizures, epileptiform EEG, and failure of ≥2 antiepileptic drugs. Medical records, investigations, MRIs, and EEGs were analyzed, and genetic testing was performed if no etiology was identified. Economic modeling was performed to determine yield and cost-effectiveness of investigation of infants with unknown etiology at epilepsy onset, incorporating targeted WES at different stages of the diagnostic pathway. RESULTS: Of 114 infants with SEI (incidence = 54/100 000 live births/y), the etiology was determined in 76 (67%): acquired brain injuries (n = 14), focal cortical dysplasias (n = 14), other brain malformations (n = 17), channelopathies (n = 11), chromosomal (n = 9), metabolic (n = 6), and other genetic (n = 5) disorders. Modeling showed that incorporating targeted WES increased diagnostic yield compared to investigation without targeted WES (48/86 vs 39/86). Early targeted WES had lower total cost ($677 081 U.S. dollars [USD] vs $738 136 USD) than late targeted WES. A pathway with early targeted WES and limited metabolic testing yielded 7 additional diagnoses compared to investigation without targeted WES (46/86 vs 39/86), with lower total cost ($455 597 USD vs $661 103 USD), lower cost per diagnosis ($9904 USD vs $16 951 USD), and a dominant cost-effectiveness ratio. SIGNIFICANCE: Severe epilepsies occur in 1 in 2000 infants, with the etiology identified in two-thirds, most commonly malformative. Early use of targeted WES yields more diagnoses at lower cost. Early genetic diagnosis will enable timely administration of precision medicines, once developed, with the potential to improve long-term outcome.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The epilepsy phenotypic spectrum associated with a recurrent CUX2 variant
    Chatron, N ; Moller, RS ; Champaigne, NL ; Schneider, AL ; Kuechler, A ; Labalme, A ; Simonet, T ; Baggett, L ; Bardel, C ; Kamsteeg, E-J ; Pfundt, R ; Romano, C ; Aronsson, J ; Alberti, A ; Vinci, M ; Miranda, MJ ; Lacroix, A ; Marjanovic, D ; des Portes, V ; Edery, P ; Wieczorek, D ; Gardella, E ; Scheffer, IE ; Mefford, H ; Sanlaville, D ; Carvill, GL ; Lesca, G (WILEY, 2018-05-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Cut homeodomain transcription factor CUX2 plays an important role in dendrite branching, spine development, and synapse formation in layer II to III neurons of the cerebral cortex. We identify a recurrent de novo CUX2 p.Glu590Lys as a novel genetic cause for developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE). METHODS: The de novo p.Glu590Lys variant was identified by whole-exome sequencing (n = 5) or targeted gene panel (n = 4). We performed electroclinical and imaging phenotyping on all patients. RESULTS: The cohort comprised 7 males and 2 females. Mean age at study was 13 years (0.5-21.0). Median age at seizure onset was 6 months (2 months to 9 years). Seizure types at onset were myoclonic, atypical absence with myoclonic components, and focal seizures. Epileptiform activity on electroencephalogram was seen in 8 cases: generalized polyspike-wave (6) or multifocal discharges (2). Seizures were drug resistant in 7 or controlled with valproate (2). Six patients had a DEE: myoclonic DEE (3), Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (2), and West syndrome (1). Two had a static encephalopathy and genetic generalized epilepsy, including absence epilepsy in 1. One infant had multifocal epilepsy. Eight had severe cognitive impairment, with autistic features in 6. The p.Glu590Lys variant affects a highly conserved glutamine residue in the CUT domain predicted to interfere with CUX2 binding to DNA targets during neuronal development. INTERPRETATION: Patients with CUX2 p.Glu590Lys display a distinctive phenotypic spectrum, which is predominantly generalized epilepsy, with infantile-onset myoclonic DEE at the severe end and generalized epilepsy with severe static developmental encephalopathy at the milder end of the spectrum. Ann Neurol 2018;83:926-934.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The severe epilepsy syndromes of infancy: A population-based study
    Howell, KB ; Freeman, JL ; Mackay, MT ; Fahey, MC ; Archer, J ; Berkovic, SF ; Chan, E ; Dabscheck, G ; Eggers, S ; Hayman, M ; Holberton, J ; Hunt, RW ; Jacobs, SE ; Kornberg, AJ ; Leventer, RJ ; Mandelstam, S ; McMahon, JM ; Mefford, HC ; Panetta, J ; Riseley, J ; Rodriguez-Casero, V ; Ryan, MM ; Schneider, AL ; Smith, LJ ; Stark, Z ; Wong, F ; Yiu, EM ; Scheffer, IE ; Harvey, AS (WILEY, 2021-01-21)
    OBJECTIVE: To study the epilepsy syndromes among the severe epilepsies of infancy and assess their incidence, etiologies, and outcomes. METHODS: A population-based cohort study was undertaken of severe epilepsies with onset before age 18 months in Victoria, Australia. Two epileptologists reviewed clinical features, seizure videos, and electroencephalograms to diagnose International League Against Epilepsy epilepsy syndromes. Incidence, etiologies, and outcomes at age 2 years were determined. RESULTS: Seventy-three of 114 (64%) infants fulfilled diagnostic criteria for epilepsy syndromes at presentation, and 16 (14%) had "variants" of epilepsy syndromes in which there was one missing or different feature, or where all classical features had not yet emerged. West syndrome (WS) and "WS-like" epilepsy (infantile spasms without hypsarrhythmia or modified hypsarrhythmia) were the most common syndromes, with a combined incidence of 32.7/100 000 live births/year. The incidence of epilepsy of infancy with migrating focal seizures (EIMFS) was 4.5/100 000 and of early infantile epileptic encephalopathy (EIEE) was 3.6/100 000. Structural etiologies were common in "WS-like" epilepsy (100%), unifocal epilepsy (83%), and WS (39%), whereas single gene disorders predominated in EIMFS, EIEE, and Dravet syndrome. Eighteen (16%) infants died before age 2 years. Development was delayed or borderline in 85 of 96 (89%) survivors, being severe-profound in 40 of 96 (42%). All infants with EIEE or EIMFS had severe-profound delay or were deceased, but only 19 of 64 (30%) infants with WS, "WS-like," or "unifocal epilepsy" had severe-profound delay, and only two of 64 (3%) were deceased. SIGNIFICANCE: Three quarters of severe epilepsies of infancy could be assigned an epilepsy syndrome or "variant syndrome" at presentation. In this era of genomic testing and advanced brain imaging, diagnosing epilepsy syndromes at presentation remains clinically useful for guiding etiologic investigation, initial treatment, and prognostication.