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Childhood Epilepsy

Diet May Help Fight Epilepsy When Meds Fail

For children with epilepsy who don’t find relief from their seizures with medication, a tightly controlled nutrition plan might help, a pair of new studies suggests.   Called the ketogenic diet, the therapy provides a carefully balanced high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that causes the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. This changes the way brain cells use energy and helps to reduce seizures, according to the researchers.

Non-Drug Options Provide Seizure Relief in Children

Non-pharmaceutical therapies may offer seizure relief for children with epilepsy, and slow introduction of the ketogenic diet is effective, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, held from Dec. 1 to 5 in Washington, D.C.

Seizure Frequency Predicts Neuropsychiatric Outcomes in BECTS

Findings from a large prospective study presented at the 2017 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, December 1-5, in Washington, DC, suggest that total number of seizures in children with benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS), not age at first seizure, is predictive of neuropsychological outcomes.   Age at first seizure was not an accurate prognostic marker, predicting neither number of seizures nor observed duration of disease.

CBD oil reduced toddler’s seizures. Still, state threatened to take away child, mother says

The parents of a 20-month-old girl say Indiana child welfare authorities threatened to take the child away from them because they chose to treat her epilepsy with a legal cannabis extract.   Lelah Jerger, the child’s mother, said personnel at Riley Hospital for Children reported her to Indiana’s Child Protective Services after she and her husband decided to use cannabidiol oil, or CBD, to treat their daughter Jaelah, rather than use the medication prescribed by a Riley doctor.

First test of anti-epilepsy surgeries in children shows dramatic benefit

Brain surgery for children whose epilepsy is resistant to drug therapy can produce a 10-fold increase in the odds of being seizure-free after one year and can do it without affecting IQ, according to a new Indian study of 116 patients in The New England Journal of Medicine   Seventy-seven percent of the children were free of seizures at one year after the surgery, compared with seven percent in a control group of youngsters who received medical therapy alone while waiting for surgery. Behavior and quality of life also improved.

Interim Survey Results Demonstrate Impact on Siblings of Children Suffering from Severe Epilepsy

“In a recently conducted survey by the Dravet Syndrome Foundation, 74 percent of caregivers expressed concerns about the emotional impact on siblings of children with Dravet syndrome, and the interim results from the Sibling Voices Survey are a significant advancement in our understanding of the far-reaching implications that severe childhood epilepsies have on the lives of siblings and loved ones,” said Nicole Villas, President & Scientific Director of the Dravet Syndrome Foundation Board of Directors.  “We are optimistic that the insights gained from the Sibling Voices Survey will assist in the development of tools to help families, and we are grateful for Zogenix’s dedication to addressing the unmet needs of this patient community.”

Know more about febrile seizures in children

Febrile seizures (febrile convulsions) are fits (sic – Seizures) that can happen when a child has fever. They are the most common type of seizure in paediatric age group. They most commonly happen between the ages of 6 months to 6 years. The cumulative incidence is estimated about 5-7% and the peak incidence is noted at 18 months of age. It can be frightening and distressing to see your child having a seizure (fits), particularly if it is the first episode they are witnessing. 

Genetic Testing Helps Determine Cause of Epilepsy in the Very Young

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics supports the use of genetic testing, especially with DNA sequencing, as the first-line diagnostic method for children under 3 years of age presenting with seizures. Epilepsy is a nervous system disorder characterized by unprovoked, repeated seizures.  Although it can affect all age groups, it is more common in young children and older adults. Treatment with medications can control seizures for nearly 80% of individuals with epilepsy; however, treating children under the age of 3 is more difficult since early life epilepsies are often a consequence of numerous neuro-developmental disorders, many of which have genetic origins.  In fact, as often as not, the cause for seizures in cases of epilepsy in children under the age of three is unknown.

Heat a trigger for seizures

Fever is the most common trigger for seizures in children between 5 months and 6 years of age. But the underlying cause is not always clear. Now in a study published in the journal Epilepsy Research, Jing-Qiong (Katty) Kang, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues show in a genetically altered mouse model that elevated body temperature alone can increase vulnerability to febrile seizures even in the absence of infection or inflammation.

What are ketogenic diets? Can they treat epilepsy and brain cancer?

Ketogenic diets are back in the news with claims they are a “cure-all”. Research shows that in epilepsy not controlled by current treatment, around 50% of children and adults following ketogenic diets have a reduction in seizures. For brain cancer, most research has been in animals. A number of human trials are underway testing safety, tolerance, interactions with other treatments, side-effects and the impact on cancer progression, quality of life and survival. So what are ketones? Although the main source of energy for the body is usually carbohydrate, which gets converted to blood glucose during digestion and metabolism, the body can also burn fat for energy. Ketone bodies, or ketones for short, are molecules produced by the liver when fat is metabolised. Ketones are used as ...

Self-Management Programs Help with Epilepsy

For 10 years the CDC Managing Epilepsy Well Network has developed innovative programs using e-tools to reach people with epilepsy. Learn how these programs can help your patients with epilepsy better manage their condition. The Importance of Epilepsy Self-Management Epilepsy is a broad term used for a brain disorder that causes seizures. There are many different types of epilepsy and many different kinds of seizures. Epilepsy can get in the way of life, mostly when seizures keep happening. Although there are many drugs to help prevent seizures, they don’t always work. In fact, about one-third of people with epilepsy who are receiving care still have seizures.1 Uncontrolled seizures can increase the risk of injury, anxiety, depression, brain damage, and in rare cases, death. They can also i...

Childhood Absence Epilepsy: 5 Things You Need to Know

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.

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