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A to Z: Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy

A to Z: Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy

May also be called: JME; Adolescent Myoclonic Epilepsy; Janz Syndrome

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder where electrical signals in the brain misfire, causing temporary communication problems between nerve cells. Someone who gets repeated seizures is thought to have epilepsy. 

Kids and teens with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) have multiple seizures that usually start around puberty and continue into adulthood unless the seizures are controlled by medicine.

More to Know

People with JME may have different kinds of seizures. The most common are called myoclonic jerks, in which a person can have quick jerks in the arms, legs, or shoulders, often just one one side of the body.  

Absence seizures (previously called petit mal seizures) can cause rapid blinking or a few seconds of staring into space.

Tonic-clonic seizures (previously called grand mal seizures) can make a person lose consciousness, fall to the ground, and have full body muscle jerks or spasms.  

Tonic means the muscles in the body become stiff. Clonic refers to periods of shaking or jerking in parts on the body. Myoclonic means brief jerking in parts of the body.

Keep in Mind

Seizures can be triggered by a lack of sleep, extreme tiredness, stress, or alcohol consumption. Managing triggers and taking medicine can help prevent seizures for most people with JME.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.