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What is the Prognosis of Epilepsy in Children?

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The Epilepsy Foundation points out that in the United States, approximately 300,000 children under age 14 have epilepsy, a disorder that causes multiple seizures. To have epilepsy, people must have two or more seizures, which result from abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke notes that causes for epilepsy include illness, abnormal brain development and brain damage. Some people may have a genetic risk for epilepsy, while other people may have no apparent cause, termed idiopathic epilepsy.

The MayoClinic.com explains that patients with epilepsy can have different types of seizures. In general, seizures are divided into two groups: partial seizures and generalized seizures. With partial seizures, the abnormal electrical activity occurs on one part of the brain. If a patient has a partial seizure, she can have either a simple partial seizure or a complex partial seizure. Simple partial seizures do not cause patients to have a loss of consciousness, while complex partial seizures cause altered consciousness and patients are unaware that a seizure occurred.

With generalized seizures, the abnormal electrical activity affects the entire brain. The MayoClinic.com points out that four types of generalized seizures exist: absence seizures, atonic seizures, myoclonic seizures and tonic-clonic seizures. During an absence seizures, patients have staring spells. Atonic seizures cause patients to collapse suddenly, while myoclonic seizures cause arm and leg twitching. With tonic-clonic seizures, patients have body stiffening and shaking, as well as a loss of consciousness.

But what is the prognosis for children who have epilepsy? In a new study published in Epilepsia, researchers found that most children with epilepsy have a favorable long-term prognosis. The study involved 413 children with epilepsy between the ages of 1 month and 16 years. The researchers followed the participants for five years, then contacted them 10 years later for a follow-up on their conditions. HealthDay News reports that 70.9 percent of the participants—293 people—had been in remission from epilepsy for the last five years, with 30 percent of participants still having active epilepsy. The researchers point out that of the participants in remission, the majority had idiopathic epilepsy. HealthDay News adds that 61. 9 percent of the study's participants did not take antiepileptic drugs anymore, while 9 percent did. The researchers note that they believe that the drugs do not affect the course of epilepsy; instead, the medications suppress the occurrence of seizures.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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