The prevalence and epidemiology of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) among metropolitan Atlanta children were studied at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USPHS, Atlanta, GA, using data from the Metropolitan Atlanta Developmental Disabilities Study. The lifetime prevalence of LGS at age 10 years was 0.26/1000, accounting for 4% of all childhood epilepsy. Mental retardation (IQ. <70) was present in 91%, and a history of infantile spasms in 39%. Of children with profound mental retardation (IQ.<20) in Atlanta, 17% had LGS. LGS causes a disproportionate degree of morbidity and health care costs among children with epilepsy because of the multiple complications, including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, visual and hearing impairments, status epilepticus, and frequent falls with injury. [1]

COMMENT. The prevalence of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in a population based study among Atlanta children is 0.26/1000, and 4% of all childhood epilepsy. The relatively high morbidity and increased health care costs of treating childhood LGS should prompt multicenter collaborative research projects to identify etiological risk factors, preventive measures, and more effective therapy.

See Progress in Pediatric Neurology III. 1997;pp82-83, for previous reports of the prevalence of epilepsy: 6/1000 among 10-year-old children in Atlanta (Murphy CC et al, 1995), and 9.8/1000 among children <15 years in Rochester, MN (HauserWA, 1994).