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Title: Frontal lobe epilepsy, sleep and parasomnias
Author: Derry, C. P.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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A close relationship exists between sleep and epilepsy. While many forms of epilepsy may be influenced by the sleep-wake cycle, this phenomenon is particularly evident in frontal lobe epilepsy where affected individuals may experience seizures exclusively during sleep (nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy, NFLE). In this thesis, three aspects of the relationship between sleep and frontal lobe epilepsy are examined. Firstly, serotonergic neurotransmission across the human sleep-wake cycle was studied using the novel PET ligand l8F-MPPF, a serotonergic 5HT)A receptor radioligand sensitive to endogenous serotonin release. Fourteen individuals with narcolepsy underwent 18F-MPPF PET scans during sleep and wakefulness. The study demonstrated a 13% increase in 18F-MPPF binding potential (p < 0.01) during sleep, indicating a reduction in serotoninergic neurotransmission, in line with existing animal data. Secondly, the characterisation of benign, non-epileptic parasomnias and their distinction from nocturnal frontal lobe seizures was addressed in two studies. The first comprised an analysis of the historical features of these conditions, and included the development and validation of a clinical scale for the diagnosis of nocturnal events. The second comprised a detailed semiological analysis of a series of parasomnias recorded on video-EEG monitoring, and a statistical comparison with seizures in NFLE. Although similarities between NFLE and parasomnias were observed, the results provide an evidence base for the confident distinction of these disorders. Finally, the familial form of NFLE (autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy, ADNFLE) is associated with mutations in genes for nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits, but recognised mutations account for only a minority of reported cases. The last study presented here is a clinical and genetic analysis of two large families with an unusually severe ADNFLE phenotype. Affected individuals had refractory epilepsy and increased rates of mental retardation and psychiatric disorders and, in one family, linkage studies suggest a previously unrecognised underlying mechanism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available