Eclipsing Epilepsy

Long-term prognosis looks good for some children with epilepsy, claims study

(RxWiki News) In a recent study from the Mayo Clinic analyzing more than 200 children with epilepsy, researchers found that long-term prognosis is excellent despite unidentified causes of focal-onset seizures.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by the occurrence of two or more seizures. It affects nearly 3 million Americans, including 45,000 children under 15.

The study looked at children diagnosed with focal-onset epilepsy (meaning the seizures are produced in a small part of the brain, not the entire brain), aged 1 month through 17 years, from 1980 to 2004. The team analyzed medical records, imaging, EEG studies, administered treatments and long-term outcomes in addition to follow-up information for more than 12 months for 206 of the children.

Researchers found that, of patients who were free from seizures at the final follow-up and successfully weaned from medication, 68 percent were cryptogenic, compared to 46 percent who were symptomatic. ("Symptomatic" epilepsy refers to patients who had a known genetic or structural/metabolic cause for their seizures, and "cryptogenic" patients did not have a known cause for seizures.)

According to one of the researchers, Elaine Wirrell, MD, the study is vital as it suggests that even if a cause of focal seizures or if patients don't fall into a known epilepsy syndrome, most children outgrow the seizures.

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Review Date: 
December 29, 2010