Although febrile seizures are not incredibly uncommon in children, prolonged febrile seizures may pose a risk factor of developing epilepsy. The longer the seizure is, the higher the risk of developing epilepsy, which can be as high as 40% following febrile status epilepticus (FSE). However, every day researchers are trying to find ways to pinpoint the characteristics that lead to the development of epilepsy.
The study investigator, Shlomo Shinnar, MD, PhD, said, “While the majority of children fully recover from FSE, some will go on to develop epilepsy.”
In a new study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, they found some evidence that an electroencephalography (EEG) and MRI may be able to identify the children at risk for epilepsy. They found that if a child receives an EEG and MRI within a few days of having a febrile seizure, they were able to identify abnormalities that may lead to finding the precursors of epilepsy within the scans.
In the scans they found that 22 children out of 191 had signs of hippocampal injury and 20 of them had developmental abnormalities of the hippocampus, along with a total of 45.2 % of the children had abnormal EEG readings. They also found that only 2 out of 96 of the children that just had simple febrile seizures had developmental abnormalities of the hippocampus.
“This study may give us the insights into how epilepsy develops,” said Vicky Whittemore, PhD, the program director at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
For now the researchers have just found that they are able to see abnormalities, and they are trying to find biomarkers that will be able to show who is at an increased risk of epilepsy.
Go read the whole article on how MRI can help understand the development of epilepsy.