In an article published online June 6, 2005, in the Annals of Neurology, researchers at St. Justine Hospital at the University of Montreal in Canada report that prolonged fever-related seizures in rat pups with underlying brain malformations lead to epilepsy in the rats in adulthood. The article is available via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ana.
Fever-related, or 'febrile,' seizures are not uncommon in young children and usually have no apparent lasting consequences. However, researchers have noted for a long time that people with temporal lobe epilepsy are more likely to have experienced atypical childhood febrile seizures--ones that occur at lower fever temperatures and last for a long time.
"Our results stress the importance of a careful evaluation of children with atypical febrile seizures. Early identification of children at risk of developing epilepsy could lead to neuroprotective treatments that could prevent the development of later epilepsy," said senior author Lionel Carmant, M.D., of the Sainte-Justine Hospital at the University of Montreal in Canada.
Doctors have long debated whether atypical childhood febrile seizures lead to epilepsy later in life. Researchers have had to consider the alternate possibility that these seizures are merely another manifestation of an underlying disease process that will lead to epilepsy with or without atypical febrile seizures.
The answer to this conundrum has profound treatment implications. Only with a better understanding of the relationship between febrile seizures and adult epilepsy would doctors be able to take aggressive measures to arrest or even prevent the consequences of febrile seiz
Contact: David Greenberg
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