Epilepsy is a genetic disorder that affects the parts of the brain similar to a computer. These parts communicate electronically. When this can’t take place a seizure occurs. When a person has a series of recurring seizures they are usually diagnosed with epilepsy. People with the disorder have an electrical abnormity in there brain. Someone with the disorder will commonly have seizures and some may have asthma. Hippocrates the Greek physician is thought to have been the first to realize that epilepsy runs in families. Recent studies show that a person’s chance is up to 4x higher is a blood relative has it. As the number of relatives with it grows so do the chances of getting it. Also the chances are greater if the relatives developed it at a young age. Both genes and environment cause epilepsy although genes are the greater of the 2 causes.
Epilepsy is not a single genetic disorder but a group of similar disorders. There are 7 variations of epilepsy… Cystatin B (on the 21 chromosome) This was the first type of epilepsy identified. This type is a progressive type of the disorder rare everywhere except in Finland KCNQ2 (on the 20 chromosome) This type of epilepsy only affects newborns. It disrupts the the gene for a protein that controls the potassium to the brain, which results in seizures. KCNQ3 (on the 8 chromosome) This is 70% the same as KCNQ2 but this also affects the heart n loss of hearing EPMR (also on the 8 chromosome) Also known as Northern Epilepsy, EPMR can cause seizures and even mental retardation. CHRNA4 (on the 20 chromosome) The symptoms of this varient of epilepsy is a series of night time seizures.
Since it does not involve all the brain CHRNA4 is also know as “partial epilepsy.” It affects one of the chemicals used during the transmit ion of signals between neurons CHRNA7 & LYS (both found on the long arm of the 15 chromosome) Both types usually affect children. CHRNA7 is the most common type of childhood epilepsy, also known as “benign rolandic epilepsy,” and LYS which might also involve other genes is “juvenile myoclonic epilepsy” Though the variants of epilepsy can not all be cured there are medicines used to treat them. Julius Ceaser of ancient Roman times is believed to have had a type of epilepsy.