A mitochondrial malady: stubborn seizures and atypical migraine

A 22-year-old female migraineur presented with recurrent convulsive status epilepticus and ataxia. Her epilepsy proved refractory to treatment, necessitating the use of five anti-epileptic drugs and a course of steroids. Genetic testing revealed compound heterozygosity for two mutations of the polymerase-? gene. The case highlights the clinical features and therapeutic challenges associated with this relatively common, but probably under-recognised, mitochondrial disease.