In the United Kingdom, researchers from Swansea University Medical School joined up with five other centers from around the world to compile the biggest recorded collection of families with forms of epilepsy where genetics may play a part in the recurring feature of the condition. The aim was to determine if specific clinical epilepsy features aggregate within families and whether this may constitute distinct family syndromes that could inform on subsequent genetic research.
Clinical analysis of the 303 families revealed that families had a range of epilepsies that were the same by diagnosis but also had mixed forms of epilepsy. In addition, some familial epilepsies, that were regarded as rare, are more common than had been appreciated. Also by having well-characterized families this will help in the search for epilepsy genes – a search which is underway at the Columbia University Institute of Genomic Medicine.