Purpose of review: The aim of this article is to review new epilepsy syndromes, acquire a new understanding of older ones and emphasize the impact of this concept on basic research regarding aetiology and treatment.
Recent findings: In addition to those included in the classification of the International League Against Epilepsy, new epilepsy syndromes comprise febrile seizures plus, benign familial neonatal-infantile seizures (BFNIS), benign infantile focal epilepsy with midline spikes and waves during sleep (BFIS), malignant migrating partial seizures in infancy, devastating epilepsy in school age children and late onset cryptogenic spasms. Genetics played a central role in identifying some new entities (BFNIS, BFIS with choreoathetosis), to delineate older syndromes (Dravet syndrome and myoclonic astatic epilepsy) and determine their mechanisms (infantile spasms, pyridoxine dependent seizures, neonatal encephalopathy with suppression bursts).
Summary: A significant number of children, mainly infants, do not fit in any of the described epilepsy syndromes. Still many patients with infantile epilepsy require the identification of cause or recognition of an epilepsy syndrome.