Delays in mental development are detectable in children within six weeks
after they have a seizure that lasts more than 30 minutes, and these impairments
are still present a year later, a new study finds.
British researchers looked at 54 children, ages 1 to 42 months, who had at
least one of these long seizures, called convulsive status epilepticus (CSE).
Some of them had seizures with fever and some without fever.
The children were assessed within six weeks of the seizure and again after
one year. They were compared to children who had not suffered seizures.
The findings suggest that convulsive status epilepticus is linked to
neurodevelopmental delays within six weeks of the seizure, and that these
impairments are still present after one year, according to the study published
April 8 in the journal Epilepsia.
"The fact that neurodevelopmental impairments are still present at one year
after the episode suggests that the CSE event is not having just a transient
effect on developmental abilities. The CSE may have a longer lasting impact on
future development through a more permanent reorganisation of functional brain
networks - a reorganisation that may have already taken place when we first
assess these children," study lead author Dr Marina Martinos, of University
College London's Institute of Child Health, said in a journal news release.
It's also possible that the neurodevelopmental impairments were present
before the seizure, according to the researchers.
They said further studies are needed to learn more about the long-term
effects of convulsive status epilepticus on child development.
Convulsive status epilepticus is one of the most common neurological
emergencies in children. Previous research has shown it occurs most often during
the first three years of life, a time of critical growth and development.
The Nemours Foundation has more about seizures in children.
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