Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Helps Predict Children With Difficult-To-Treat Epilepsy

Date:
June 28, 2001
Source:
American Academy Of Neurology
Summary:
A new study may help neurologists predict which children with epilepsy will not respond to the most common medications, and thus may be candidates for treatment with more aggressive approaches.

ST. PAUL, MN – A new study may help neurologists predict which children with epilepsy will not respond to the most common medications, and thus may be candidates for treatment with more aggressive approaches. The study was published in the June 12 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"This is important because the medical, social and economic consequences of poorly controlled seizures can be enormous," said neurologist Gregory Holmes, MD, of Harvard Medical School, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. "These kids are at high risk for behavior problems and problems in school. And in addition to the child's problems, the burden on the parents is also great."

Identifying these children would allow neurologists to determine earlier which children would be most appropriate candidates for treatment with aggressive therapies, such as surgery, recently approved drugs, vagus nerve stimulation, drugs that have higher risks of side effects or a special diet called the ketogenic diet.

“This could in some cases prevent months and even years of poorly controlled seizures and their consequences,” said study author Anne T. Berg, PhD, of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

For the study, 613 children with newly diagnosed epilepsy seen by physicians in Connecticut were followed for at least 18 months and an average of nearly five years. Of those, 10 percent met the criteria for difficult-to-treat, or intractable, epilepsy. Intractable epilepsy was defined as the failure of two or more first-line epilepsy drugs to control seizures; children had one or more seizures a month for 18 months.

The researchers identified three factors that increase the risk of having intractable epilepsy. Those with a type of epilepsy called cryptogenic/symptomatic generalized epilepsy have the greatest risk. Children with this type of epilepsy are usually young when they have their first seizure, often less than a year old. It can occur in children who were previously neurologically normal, called cryptogenic.

More often it occurs in children who were known to have neurological abnormalities, called symptomatic. In the study, 35 percent of the children with this type of epilepsy met the criteria for intractable epilepsy, compared to eight percent of those with other forms of epilepsy.

Also at high risk are those whose seizures occurred frequently when they first developed, or more than once a month. In children with less than one seizure a month, only one percent met the criteria for intractability. The percentage increased with increasing seizure frequency and reached a maximum of nearly 27 percent in those with 200 or more seizures per month, Berg said.

"This shouldn't necessarily mean that neurologists should take extraordinary measures with children who initially have a high seizure frequency, but these children should be observed and followed closely," Berg said.

The researchers also measured the electrical activity in the children's brains through electroencephalogram (EEG) tests. Children with slow activity in an area of the brain were also more likely to have intractable epilepsy than children with normal EEGs or with other EEG abnormalities common in epilepsy.

These last two factors – initial seizure frequency and EEG activity – are also important in children with a type of epilepsy called non-idiopathic partial epilepsy, who represented almost half of the study group. Partial epilepsy means that the seizure occurs in one area of the brain. “This is important because this is the type of epilepsy most frequently treated with surgery if medications fail,” Berg said.

Holmes states that large studies are needed to compare and evaluate several new epilepsy drugs and surgical techniques. "This study provides solid guidelines for researchers to evaluate the medical, dietary or surgical treatment for children who are destined to have a difficult course," he said. "Identifying the children is the first step. Now we need to figure out what the best treatments are for them."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy Of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy Of Neurology. "Study Helps Predict Children With Difficult-To-Treat Epilepsy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010612065052.htm>.
American Academy Of Neurology. (2001, June 28). Study Helps Predict Children With Difficult-To-Treat Epilepsy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010612065052.htm
American Academy Of Neurology. "Study Helps Predict Children With Difficult-To-Treat Epilepsy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010612065052.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins