Convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) are seizures that last over 30 minutes and often strike very young children. Since these prolonged seizures occur at a time of important development, many question what the long-term effects could be on children. Now a new study says CSEs do have long-reaching consequences and may delay development in children.
“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,” lead author Dr. Marina Martinos from the Developmental Cognitive Neurosciences Unit at UCL Institute of Child Health in London was quoted as saying.
54 children between one and 42 months old who had one or more CSE events received imaging scans and neuropsychological assessments within six weeks of the CSE occurrence and then again one year later. Researchers also examined the children’s developmental skills and compared them to children who had not experienced a seizure.
All of the children who had at least one CSE event had developmental impairment less than six weeks after the seizure as well as one year later. The children with prolonged febrile seizures, meaning they had a fever at the same time as the seizure, had better development than the children with non-febrile CSEs, although both demonstrated worse developmental skills compared to children with normal development.
“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 children,” Dr. Martinos was quoted as saying.
However, the study also found neurodevelopmental impairments which existed before the child even had a CSE event, so the exact relationship between the seizures and the developmental delays is still unknown.
Source: Epilepsia, April 2013