Public Defence: Marte Roa Syvertsen Marte Roa Syvertsen at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Epidemiology of epilepsy in Buskerud County, emphasasing clinical and psychosocial aspects of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

Image may contain: eyewear, hair, glasses, face, blond.

Photo: Private

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Associate Professor Jakob Christensen, Departmenty of Clinical Medicine, Department of Neurology, Aarhus University
  • Second opponent: Associate Professor Marte-Helene Bjørk, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Professor Ole Morten Rønning, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Morten Lossius, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Associate Professor Jeanette Koht, University of Oslo


Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, affecting people of all ages. Among epilepsies starting in youth, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is the most common. The cause of JME is unknown, but it is thought to involve neuronal networks within the frontal lobes, networks which are important to decision-making and adaptation of behaviour.

The aim of the present thesis was to assess epilepsy prevalence and aetiology in a Norwegian county, and to investigate whether there was an excess of risk-taking behaviour in a large and representative group of people with JME.

The prevalence of epilepsy in Buskerud was 0.65%, and the prevalence of JME was 0.06%. People with JME had higher rates of police charges, use of illicit recreational drugs, and smoking prior to the age of 18 than a control group of people with other types of epilepsy. People with JME were more often victims of violence, and more often quitted their antiepileptic medication against medical advice.

The present thesis provides evidence of a risk-taking behavioural profile in JME, supporting the hypothesis of disease-generating mechanisms involving networks within the frontal lobes.

Furthermore, we found JME to be more common than previously reported, while the overall prevalence of epilepsy was comparable to that of previous studies.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published Sep. 6, 2019 1:55 PM - Last modified Sep. 11, 2019 3:10 PM