The steps involved in evaluating and diagnosing patients with epilepsy are complicated. In a new and extensive literature review of available information, experts provide insights on the valuable role of genetic testing in the diagnosis and care of pediatric epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder that affects up to 1.5% of the world's population and is more commonly diagnosed in children than adults.

Most cases of epilepsy have been considered "idiopathic" or of unknown cause, but recent advances in genetic testing are providing insights on the potential significance of certain genes.

"If a genetic disorder is suspected as the cause of treatment resistant epilepsy, timely diagnosis with appropriate genetic tests may reduce costs, limit anxiety to families, and optimize treatment and care," said Dr. Anup Patel, senior author of the Epilepsia study.

Study: Obtaining genetic testing in pediatric epilepsy, Margie A. Ream and Anup D. Patel, Epilepsia, doi: 10.1111/epi.13122, published online 8 September 2015.