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Childhood Epilepsy

Sudden Death Among Children with Epilepsy: 4x More Likely than Previously Thought

1.11 out of 1,000 children with epilepsy die suddenly each year, according to a Canadian study by CURE grantee Dr. Elizabeth Donner of the University of Toronto.1 Dr. Donner’s estimates confirm 2017 results garnered from the Swedish National Death Registry that also found the annual rate of sudden death to be 1.11 per 1,000 children with epilepsy.2 Both of these recent studies are in contrast to previous estimates which showed that Sudden Death in Epilepsy (aka SUDEP) affects 1 in 4,500 children with epilepsy each year.3 Dr. Donner has spent much of her career identifying and studying cases of SUDEP to determine how often sudden death occurs in children with epilepsy and who is at risk. A recipient of CURE’s 2009 Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy Award, Dr. Donner set out to create a Can...

Parental coping and its role in predicting health-related quality of life in pediatric epilepsy

Psychosocial difficulties are known to greatly impact the health-related quality of life of a child with epilepsy. Parental coping is a unique aspect of having a child with epilepsy that has not been examined in relation to health-related quality of life in the child with epilepsy until now. Parental coping with the condition is shown to be significantly related to the child’s health-related quality of life in a youth with epilepsy. Elevated feelings of helplessness, along with epilepsy severity, predict lower health-related quality of life. The study’s findings are the first to demonstrate the unique role of parental coping in on health quality among youth with epilepsy, and, they highlight the importance of providing support to the whole family during pediatric epilepsy treatment. Highli...

Epilepsy in Children

Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder affecting children, and may be characterized by sudden, recurrent episodes of uncontrolled motor activity and, in some cases, impaired consciousness (seizures). Any condition that triggers disruptive electrical discharges in the brain can produce epilepsy. Although the underlying abnormality may not be correctable, seizures themselves can usually be controlled through drug therapy. There are a number of relatively benign genetic epilepsies of childhood, some but not all of which may be outgrown. Common Causes of Epilepsy Seizures may develop as a result of a head injury, brain infection, brain tumor, drug or alcohol withdrawal or intoxication, stroke, birth trauma or metabolic imbalance. In most cases, the underlying cause of a child’s epil...

Signs of concussion in children and toddlers

Concussion is an injury to the brain caused by either a blow to the head or body. A child’s developing brain is more at risk than an adult’s, so parents and caregivers may want to know the signs of concussion in children. A survey published in 2017, looking at more than 13,000 adolescents in the United States, found that almost one-fifth reported having had a concussion at least once. In this article, we will look at the warning signs and how to spot concussion in a child, plus what to do if you think a child has concussion. What is concussion? Concussion is a type of brain injury that happens when a blow to the head or body causes the brain to move in its surrounding fluid. The brain can twist or knock against the skull, temporarily affecting how a child thinks and acts. Concu...

Scientists pinpoint the cause of a rare childhood seizure disorder

Early Infantile Epileptic Encephalopathy (EIEE) is a rare disease that causes intractable seizures within the first few months of life. Over 50 genes have been linked to EIEE, meaning the condition is difficult to diagnose. Now, bioinformatics experts from the University of Utah Health have created a set of high-tech, computational tools that can pinpoint the cause of the condition. Photo Credit: By Mama Belle Love kids If EIEE is not diagnosed and treated early on, the seizures can interrupt normal development and lead to early death. Researchers have identified 50 genes linked to EIEE, but standard genetic testing often fails to detect the cause of the disease, meaning treatment approaches are limited to managing a child’s symptoms. Now, rather than undergoing multiple tests, the new too...

FDA To Consider Midazolam Nasal Spray for Acute Cluster Seizure Treatment

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the New Drug Application (NDA) for an investigational nasal spray therapy intended for the acute treatment of seizure clusters. Midazolam Nasal Spray—from global biopharmaceutical company UCB, Brussels, Belgium (UCB)—has been previously granted Orphan Drug and Fast Track designations by the FDA. It’s now set for a potential market approval in early 2019. The spray’s application is supported by data from the phase 3 Acute Rescue Therapy in Epilepsy with Midazolam Intranasal Spray (ARTEMIS 1) trial, in which a 5mg intranasal dose of the therapy was tested for efficacy and safety in 292 patients with seizure clusters in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled setting. Investigators had tested for a primary endpoint of seizure termi...

Spider venom strikes a blow against childhood epilepsy

A devastating form of childhood epilepsy that is resistant to traditional drugs may have met its match in spider venom. Researchers from The University of Queensland and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health discovered that a peptide in spider venom can restore the neural deficiencies that trigger seizures associated with Dravet syndrome. UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) Professor Glenn King said the study in mice could be an important step towards better therapeutic strategies for the rare and life-threatening type of epilepsy developed by children in their first year of life.

Addressing Psychiatric Comorbidities in Pediatric Epilepsy

Children with a chronic physical illness have a substantially elevated prevalence of psychiatric illness. The odds of having a mental health disorder were 62% higher among children with vs without a chronic physical condition, even after adjusting for sociodemographic variables and access to health care, according to results from a study published in 2016.1 The risk for psychopathology is even greater among children who have chronic central nervous system (CNS) disorders. In children with epilepsy, various studies have reported a prevalence of mental health problems ranging from 16% to 77%, and a 3-fold to 9-fold risk compared with controls.2 In a recent study of children and adolescents age 10 to 19 years who had epilepsy, the most commonly observed comorbid psychiatric disorders were att...

Early-Life Seizures Prematurely Wake Up Brain Networks Tied to Autism

Antiepileptic Drug May Keep Synapses ‘Silent’ Longer So Brain Can Develop Normally, Penn Study Suggests   Early-life seizures prematurely switch on key synapses in the brain that may contribute to further neurodevelopmental delay in children with autism and other intellectual disabilities, suggests a new study from researchers at Penn Medicine published online in Cell Reports. Importantly, the study shows that an existing targeted therapy may keep those synapses “silent” after seizures to allow the brain to develop normally during a critical time in a person’s life. “Silent” synapses become active with experience, and removal of the reservoir of these synapses due to seizures results in a decreased capacity to engage these synapses in later learning.   Seizures from epilepsy earl...

Mid-Buchanan School faces discrimination lawsuit of student with epilepsy being bullied

  A lawsuit against the Mid-Buchanan R-V School District alleging bullying of a student is set to go to trial in 2019.   Filed by the mother of a former elementary school student, the complaint alleges the student was bullied and harassed by a school principal and resource office over the course of the 2015-16 school year.  

Immune Response May Contribute to Pediatric Epilepsy

Irregular concentrations of T-cells in the brain contribute to the development of seizures in pediatric epilepsy, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.   The experiments suggest anti-inflammatory drugs should be considered for therapy, in addition to the anti-seizure drugs that are typically prescribed, according to Stephen D. Miller, PhD, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology and the senior author of the study.

Partnering to improve patient-neurologist dialogue about epilepsy

Digital Health Solutions, Child Neurology Foundation and Greenwich Biosciences begin work to create high-tech risk-screening tool    Experts in academia, patient advocacy and the health care industry have begun a partnership to improve communication about epilepsy between pediatricians, pediatric neurologists and the families of pediatric patients.   Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost 3.5 million Americans had active epilepsy in 2015, including 470,000 children. In a 2017 guideline, the American Academy of Neurology urged health care providers to report risks associated with the condition to caregivers of children living with epilepsy. Those risks include sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, or SUD...