Neurobiology of Sleep-Wakefulness Cycle 2(3-4): 60-63, 2002
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2002 NSWC


Yoshihide Iwakawa, Jun Kohyama

Department of Pediatrics, Tokyo Medical and Dental University , School of Medicine, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8519, Japan

Accepted in revised form 23 October 2002; recieved 16 March 2002.


It is generally accepted that epileptic seizures affect the sleep-wakefulness rhythm, and that the sleep-wakefulness rhythm is often disturbed in patients with intractable epilepsy. West syndrome (WS) and Lennox syndrome (LS) are representative catastrophic types of epilepsy in young children, but few studies have described the sleep-wakefulness rhythm of patients with WS or LS. Thus, we examined the chronological alteration of the sleep-wakefulness rhythm in these disorders in 12 patients [WS (n=6), LS (n=6)] split into two groups, benign; n=4, and intractable; n=8. Caregivers recorded the sleep-wakefulness rhythm of the patients daily for at least three years. This data was compared with records obtained from age-matched patients with epilepsies other than WS or LS (control group). Disturbances of the sleep-wakefulness rhythms of patients in the benign group became indistinguishable from the age-matched controls, although this took 2 to 4 years after epileptic seizures ceased. In contrast, the sleep-wakefulness rhythms of patients in the intractable group were different from the controls during the observation period. The disturbance of the sleep-wakefulness rhythm appeared to be more severe in patients with WS or LS than in other child epilepsy patients. The neuronal background of this putative disturbance was discussed.

Key Words: Sleep-wakefulness rhythm, West syndrome, Lennox syndrome, brainstem, monoaminergic system, biological clock.

Correspondence: Kohyama Jun, PhD.,
Division of Human Ontogeny and Childhood Development,
Graduate School, Tokio Medical and Dental University,
1-5-45, Yushima, Tokio, 113-8519, Japan.