Childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), a syndrome that occurs in 1 out of 1000 children, is one of the most common types of early childhood (first decade) seizures. A classic CAE scenario may be that of a little girl who has just started kindergarten and has periods of “blanking out” every day. Her teacher calls out her name, but she does not respond. She sometimes blinks her eyes a few times and is back to “normal” in about 20 seconds. The teacher alerts the parents, who then make an appointment to see the pediatrician. Typically, the parents report never noticing these episodes at home.
Focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) is a congenital abnormality of brain development where the neurons in an area of the brain failed to migrate in the proper formation in utero. Focal cortical dysplasia is a common cause of intractable epilepsy in children and is a frequent cause of epilepsy in adults.
A new study supports routine genetic testing for epilepsy in young children with seizures. “Precision medicine means nothing without precision diagnosis, and we can now provide precision diagnosis,” said study lead author Anne Berg, of the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Doctors have several anti-seizure options to treat epilepsy, but little data exists to show which of these treatments is best for children. Nevertheless, according to a recent study on therapies prescribed for children under 3 with epilepsy, doctors in the U.S. appear to prefer Keppra (levetiracetam) as either a first or second option for treatment.
Sometimes Shelby would be there, but not “all there.” At the dinner table, her parents and siblings would catch her “zoning out”; she’d stop paying attention to the conversation and need to be jostled back to focus. They’d chide her for being so rude, then continue with their meal. It was just one of her quirks, they reasoned, and she’d grow out of it eventually.
It was announced today that the FDA approves VNS Therapy® system (“VNS Therapy”) in patients as young as four years of age with partial onset seizures that are refractory to antiepileptic medications. This groundbreaking achievement makes VNS Therapy the first and only device that is FDA approved for drug-resistant epilepsy in this pediatric population. Previously, VNS Therapy was FDA approved for patients ages 12 and older. With this new indication, many children living with devastating drug-resistant seizures will have the opportunity for treatment beyond medication.
Childhood abuse, both sexual and emotional, is more frequently reported in epilepsy patients when compared to the general population, according to the results of a German study. These findings are in agreement with previous studies and highlight the need for additional vigilance on the familiar settings of children with epilepsy.
Chronic childhood illnesses such as epilepsy could increase the risk that a person will develop clinical depression as an adult, according to new research. The study, “Research Review: Childhood chronic physical illness and adult emotional health – a systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that a component of cannabis reduces seizures in children with a rare form of epilepsy, marking a significant step in efforts to use marijuana and its derivatives to treat serious medical conditions.
A University of Warwick study to understand a form of epilepsy that affects children has received a grant from the charity Epilepsy Research UK. The research focuses on absence epilepsy which is largely a childhood condition which is characterized by sudden, brief interruptions of consciousness. In severe cases there may be more than 200 of these episodes each day, and these can be accompanied by or develop into convulsive seizures. Many children with absence seizures don’t respond to existing antiepileptic medication, which can present numerous difficulties in daily life, particularly with schooling.
Elizabeth Szasz is 12 years old but is unable to lead the typical life of a middle schooler. She was diagnosed with epilepsy as a baby and has tried several treatments for her life-threatening seizures. Each new treatment would work for a short time. But her seizures, which can last longer than two hours would return. Her parents say they felt hopeless.
A little Whanganui girl whose classmates refused to come to her birthday is about to be flooded with friends, presents and birthday well-wishes from all over the world. Gabi Barnett, 9, has suffered some setbacks in the last two years. Merciless bullying by another girl has made Gabi shy and withdrawn. Her mum Toni says the bully picked on someone every year, and one year she chose Gabi. “It was pretty nasty stuff. She would say things like ‘You should just die’. “Gabi got really depressed and chopped one side of her hair off, so she had to get a haircut and we could only cut it short – then there was more bullying, she was getting called a boy. It snowballed.” The girl’s family eventually moved and Gabi was delighted – but then out of the bl...