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What Is Childhood Epilepsy?

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


- Patty McGoldrick:There are several types of epilepsy that present in childhood. There is a big increase in epilepsy in infancy, and then there's another big increase at the end of the lifespan when people are older. But, there are a group that just presents in childhood, like in elementary school and middle school, and kids for the first time present with seizures. The two big ones are benign rolandic epilepsy and absence Epilepsy.

- Steve Wolf:And these two childhood epilepsies look very different. I mean, absence are little zoning out in spacing out episodes, frequently noticed at school, and benign rolandic are the ones that scare the parents that happen late at night.

- Patty:And those are the ones that happen in the middle of the night, out of sleep with gurgling, drooling. The good message about childhood epilepsies is they're often outgrown pretty quickly. Within two to five years most kids outgrow them. We do treat these epilepsies because of the associated school problems, and because we don't want them to have their social life impacted by having seizures.

- Steve:As you mentioned, they are frequently outgrown. They are probably in that category of idiopathic epilepsy that's probably related to something genetic. And, again, it's important to treat them because we don't want them to interfere with the child's life.

- Patty:So, childhood epilepsies are epilepsies that present in childhood, elementary, sometimes in preschool, middle school. They're usually outgrown within two to five years. They're eminently treatable, and we do treat both to prevent the seizures and both to prevent the academic issues and the socialization issues that occur with them.

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