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Pediatric Neurologist Warns: If You See Infantile Spasms, Seek Treatment Right Away

December 1-7 is Infantile Spasms (IS) Awareness Week. It’s important for parents of infants to know what they are looking at when infants move involuntarily.

“Infantile Spasms are a medical emergency,” said Dr. Martina Bebin, pediatric neurologist. “They’re often very subtle seizures that typically occur in the first year of life. They can be catastrophic and really cause damage to a child’s developing brain.”

Awareness of infantile spasms is critical because treatment options are available to improve the quality of life of babies.

“They usually occur in clusters,” said Dr. Bebin. “They can look like jerks at the extremities or flexion at the trunk. It’s very important that parents be able to recognize them, take a video of it and be able to contact their pediatrician as soon as possible.”

The seizures are generally a symptom of a larger condition called tuberous sclerosis. Tuberous sclerosis is a genetic condition. Changes (or mutations) in either the TSC1 or TSC2 gene cause the disease. There is a study going on now with a drug called Vigabitrin to treat infants with infantile spasms.

“It targets the origin of where the spasms are and is a medication that is very effective in treating infantile spasms,” said Dr. Bebin. “The purpose of the PREVeNT was in an effort to be on the preventative side with epilepsy.”

For more information about the symptoms and treatments of infantile spasms, visit www.isweek.org and follow the conversation using the hashtag #ISAW2019.

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