Developmental delays in children following prolonged seizures

April 8, 2013, Wiley

Researchers from the UK determined that developmental delays are present in children within six weeks following convulsive status epilepticus (CSE)—a seizure lasting longer than thirty minutes. The study appearing today in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that neurodevelopmental impairments continue to be present one year after CSE.

CSE is one of the most common neurological emergencies in children. These prolonged seizures can occur with or without fevers (febrile). Studies show that CSE occurs more frequently during the first three years of life—a time of critical growth and development in children. Prior research investigating CSE has focused mainly on simple and was conducted years after the event occurred.

"Our study is the first to examine cognitive, language, and motor function in children within six weeks of CSE, with follow-up at one year to determine their developmental track," said lead author, Dr. Marina Martinos with the Developmental Cognitive Neurosciences Unit at UCL Institute of Child Health in London. "Understanding how CSE impacts early childhood development and whether this type of has long-term adverse affects is an important addition to medical evidence."

For the present study, researchers recruited 54 children between one and forty-two months of age who had at least one CSE event. CSE episodes were classified as prolonged febrile seizures (PFS) or nonfebrile CSE. All pediatric participants underwent and imaging scans within six weeks of the CSE event and at one year. Developmental skills were measured in children who had seizures and compared to children without seizures with normal development.

Half of the pediatric participants had PFS and the other half had nonfebrile CSE, with assessments carried out at a mean of 38 days following CSE. Findings indicate that CSE is linked to developmental impairments within six weeks of the event, and that the impairments persisted at the one-year follow-up. Children with nonfebrile PFS had worse developmental outcomes than those with PFS, and children in the PFS group had poorer developmental skills than those in the control group. The authors found that seizure characteristics (e.g. duration) were not a significant predictor of developmental performance.

Dr. Martinos concludes, "We found developmental impairments in children following CSE, including those with PFS who normally do not display neurologic issues prior to the seizure. 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 reorganization of functional brain networks – a reorganization that may have already taken place when we first assess these ."

Alternatively, the authors comment, these data suggest that the neurodevelopmental impairments observed predate the seizure even in those with no neurological priors. The authors propose that further studies that include neurocognitive techniques are necessary to enhance understanding of the long-term impact of CSE on child development.

Explore further: Hyperventilation may trigger febrile seizures in children

More information: "Early Developmental Outcomes in Children Following Convulsive Status Epilepticus: A Longitudinal Study." Marina M. Martinos, Michael Yoong, Shekhar Patil, Wui K. Chong, Rodica Mardari, Richard F. M. Chin, Brian G. R. Neville, Michelle de Haan and Rod C. Scott. Epilepsia; Published Online: April 8, 2013 DOI: 10.1111/epi.12136

Related Stories

Hyperventilation may trigger febrile seizures in children

September 12, 2011
New research shows that febrile seizures in children may be linked to respiratory alkalosis, indicated by elevated blood pH and low carbon dioxide levels caused by hyperventilation, and independent of the underlying infection ...

Cognitive impairment seen in preschool children with epilepsy

June 2, 2011
A recent study has shown that cognitive impairment is evident early on in preschool children with epilepsy, consistent with results of similar studies in older children. Age of onset of first seizure is a significant predictor ...

Pediatric epilepsy impacts sleep for the child and parents

May 17, 2012
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston have determined that pediatric epilepsy significantly impacts sleep patterns for the child and parents. According to the study available in Epilepsia, ...

MRI and EEG could identify children at risk for epilepsy after febrile seizures

November 7, 2012
Seizures during childhood fever are usually benign, but when prolonged, they can foreshadow an increased risk of epilepsy later in life. Now a study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that brain imaging ...

Recommended for you

Fresh approach to tuberculosis vaccine offers better protection

January 17, 2018
A unique platform that resulted in a promising HIV vaccine has also led to a new, highly effective vaccine against tuberculosis that is moving toward testing in humans.

Study reveals how MRSA infection compromises lymphatic function

January 17, 2018
Infections of the skin or other soft tissues with the hard-to-treat MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria appear to permanently compromise the lymphatic system, which is crucial to immune system function. ...

Newly-discovered TB blood signal provides early warning for at-risk patients

January 17, 2018
Tuberculosis can be detected in people with HIV infection via a unique blood signal before symptoms appear, according to a new study by researchers from the Crick, Imperial College London and the University of Cape Town.

New study validates clotting risk factors in chronic kidney disease

January 17, 2018
In late 2017, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) discovered and published (Science Translational Medicine, (9) 417, Nov 2017) a potential treatment target to prevent chronic kidney disease (CKD) ...

New study offers insights on genetic indicators of COPD risk

January 16, 2018
Researchers have discovered that genetic variations in the anatomy of the lungs could serve as indicators to help identify people who have low, but stable, lung function early in life, and those who are particularly at risk ...

Previous influenza virus exposures enhance susceptibility in another influenza pandemic

January 16, 2018
While past exposure to influenza A viruses often builds immunity to similar, and sometimes different, strains of the virus, Canadian researchers are calling for more attention to exceptions to that rule.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.