Infantile Spasms Awareness Week
December 3rd-December 9th 2012
Infantile Spasms is a neurologic emergency that typically begins in the first 4 to 8 months of life and is characterized by flexion (bending and jerking) of the trunk (torso) or neck and extremities (arms and legs). An episode can range from a subtle head jerk to a flexion that lasts for a few seconds. Most often, the spasms occur in clusters.
It is quite common for infantile spasms, which is a very rare form of epilepsy, to be overlooked or misdiagnosed, delaying the proper evaluation and early treatment. When this happens the infant’s long-term development is placed at risk, since the longer infantile spasms go untreated, the greater the chance of long-term cognitive impairment. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the spasms AND hypsarrhythmia (a high disorganized and chaotic brain wave abnormality found in an EEG).
Our organization is supporting the efforts of the Child Neurology Foundation to promote greater awareness and understanding of infantile spasms. We encourage you to visit http://www.infantilespasmsinfo.org to learn more about how infantile spasms is diagnosed and treated. In addition, the Child Neurology Foundation has launched a Parent Mentor Network (http://www.infantilespasmsinfo.org/parent_network.php) to help connect parents of newly-diagnosed children with parents who have been through the experience.
If you suspect your child might be suffering from infantile spasms, we encourage you to bring your infant to a child neurologist as soon as possible for diagnosis and proper treatment.