Through genetic counselling, it will help people plan a family, says lead researcher Ingrid Scheffer of the University of Melbourne.
Two per cent of people have epilepsy and most do not know the cause of their condition. The research will help some of those with the most common form, focal epilepsy, discover the underlying cause.
Professor Scheffer says a gene test will help in cases where everything else in the brain looks normal. "It will give you a cause. That has important implications in terms of genetic counselling and managing the risk to your own offspring.''
A small proportion of people with the gene also have psychiatric or autism spectrum disorders, says Professor Scheffer, a senior principal research fellow at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.
"Knowing the gene means people can go forward and get pregnant and have proper medical assistance to ensure their baby does not have the disorder." Therefore genetic counselling is even more important.
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