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What Is an Infantile Spasm & Are They Related to Epilepsy?

Learn about infantile spasms from Steve Wolf, MD and Patty McGoldrick, NP in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Dr. Steve Wolf: Infantile spams is a type of seizure that presents somewhere between five months old and usually about a year old. It's a sudden jerk, or twitch, or crunching, or bobbing that seems to make the parents notice that something else is going on.

Patty McGoldrick: The problem is that they're often misdiagnosed, and people think that it's just sort of a colicky issue. Anything that goes on and doesn't look right, anything that the baby seems uncomfortable afterwards or sort of out if it, needs to be really evaluated right away because of what's not missed, because this is one of the big epileptic encephalopathies that's eminently treatable. Maybe not curable, but it should be treated immediately so that the seizures can be brought under control to provide for better growth and development.

Dr. Wolf: Again, these are funny movements that happen, but they're repetitive. It'll be upon awakening, it'll happen over and over again. The kid might cry afterwards, be really upset. As a parent, you're going to notice that something doesn't seem right. My child is just not doing what they normally do. I find that parents are great detectors of this. You need to bring it to the pediatrician's attention.

Patty: It can often look like sort of a head drop and arms going up. The child can regress with it. What you really want to look for is lack of social smile, child not regarding the parents as much as they were doing before these episodes started, even before they're noted to be seizures. If that is seizures, they need to immediately be admitted into the hospital for video EEG, so that they can be put on medication and treated to prevent regression and developmental delays.

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