New findings point to a genetic cause for childhood absence epilepsy, an inherited disorder that accounts for 10% to 12% of epilepsy in children younger than 16 years (Tanaka M et al. Am J Hum Genet. 2008;82:1249-1261). The condition is associated with frequent seizures with impaired consciousness that leaves a child unresponsive for up to 10 seconds at a time. Several medications are effective in controlling the majority of these absence seizures, which mysteriously disappear in adulthood.
Hampton T. Mutation Linked to Epilepsy. JAMA. 2008;300(1):33. doi:10.1001/jama.300.1.33-c