PETs Find The Damage of FIRES

PET scans prove better than MRIs in understanding childhood epileptic condition called FIRES

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) According to a new study, positron emission tomography (PET) scans can assess and map the damage of the obscure childhood epileptic condition known as FIRES.

FIRES, or fever-induced refractory epileptic encephalopathy in school-age children, transpires suddenly in children who were previously healthy. Little is known about the condition, and few statistics exist. The condition is triggered by a short fever then followed by fierce, medication-resistant seizures that can last as long as several weeks. These incessant seizures can leave the children with severe brain damage, especially to those areas controlling language, memory, and behavior.

The researchers conducted their study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, by comparing MRI and PET scans in eight patients diagnosed with FIRES. In addition, each patient was given a neuropsychologic evaluation to assess cognitive, motor, behavioral, language, and executive functioning. Even though the neuropsychologic evaluations showed cognitive dysfunction, the MRI brain scans did not reveal any abnormalities. In contrast, the PET scans showed serious cognitive dysfunction.

This finding means that scientists may be able to localize the cognitive deterioration caused by FIRES. According to Catherine Chrion, M.D., Ph.D., pediatric epileptogolist, head of the Research Program on Epilepsy at Hospital Necker - Enfants Malades in Paris, and one of the study's authors, localizing such a dysfunction may result in better outcomes for patients.

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Review Date: 
January 3, 2011
Last Updated:
January 5, 2011