Nav: Home

Cooling treatment reduces epilepsy in children

October 03, 2017

Cooling babies deprived of oxygen at birth (perinatal asphyxia) can reduce the number of children who develop epilepsy later in childhood, according to a new study published in the journal Epilepsia.

The study has been led by Marianne Thoresen, Professor of Neonatal Neuroscience, from the Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences at the University of Bristol.

It is known that newborn babies who suffer perinatal asphyxia may develop permanent brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy or other conditions, like epilepsy. Until recently, 20 to 30 per cent of these patients would develop epilepsy and many need regular antiepileptic treatment. The patients' cognitive performance, life quality and life expectancy is also affected by having the condition.

The research team has developed and delivered cooling treatment, known as therapeutic hypothermia, for newborns who suffer lack of oxygen during birth. For up to eight years, the researchers followed 165 infants who were born in the south west and who received cooling therapy at St Michael's Hospital, Bristol, part of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. The study examined how many babies were diagnosed with epilepsy and how many are on regular antiepileptic drug treatment at two and four to eight years of age.

The research found that babies, born after 2007, who received the cooling treatment, had much less epilepsy than before cooling treatment was introduced. At two years, seven per cent of the children had an epilepsy diagnosis, however, far fewer, only two per cent, were on regular antiepileptic drugs.

The study showed that more children had epilepsy when they reached the age of four to eight years with seven per cent on regular medication. However, these are very low numbers needing antiepileptic treatment compared to before cooling treatment was introduced as standard of care.

Before therapeutic hypothermia was introduced, poor outcome meaning death or moderate or severe disability was around 66 per cent (32 per cent death and 34 per cent surviving with disability).

In this cohort born after 2007, the number of children with poor outcome is lower at 34 per cent (11 per cent death and 23 per cent survived with disability). Also, the severity of cerebral palsy is milder and seven out of ten are able to walk. Even if a lesser severity of perinatal asphyxia is accounted for, cooling therapy has increased the number of healthy survivors and there are very few children with epilepsy needing drug treatment.

Professor Marianne Thoresen said: "Even if we account for a lesser severity of perinatal asphyxia, our research has shown that therapeutic hypothermia reduces the number of children who develop epilepsy later in childhood. Cooling treatment also reduces the number and severity of cerebral palsy and increases the number of patients who survive normally."
-end-
The research was funded by Sparks UK; University of Bristol's Alumni Foundation; The Laerdal Foundation for Acute Medicine, Norway; University of Oslo, and a private donation.

Paper:

'Reduced infancy and childhood epilepsy following hypothermia-treated neonatal encephalopathy' by Xun Liu, Sally Jary, Frances Cowan and Marianne Thoresen in Epilepsia

University of Bristol

Related Epilepsy Articles:

Antibodies in the brain trigger epilepsy
Certain forms of epilepsy are accompanied by inflammation of important brain regions.
Breaching the brain's defense causes epilepsy
Epileptic seizures can happen to anyone. But how do they occur and what initiates such a rapid response?
Using connectomics to understand epilepsy
Abnormalities in structural brain networks and how brain regions communicate may underlie a variety of disorders, including epilepsy, which is one focus of a two-part Special Issue on the Brain Connectome in Brain Connectivity, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
Epilepsy: Triangular relationship in the brain
When an epileptic seizure occurs in the brain, the nerve cells lose their usual pattern and fire in a very fast rhythm.
How concussions may lead to epilepsy
Researchers have identified a cellular response to repeated concussions that may contribute to seizures in mice like those observed following traumatic brain injury in humans.
Understanding epilepsy in pediatric tumors
A KAIST research team led by Professor Jeong Ho Lee of the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering has recently identified a neuronal BRAF somatic mutation that causes intrinsic epileptogenicity in pediatric brain tumors.
Can medical marijuana help treat intractable epilepsy?
A new British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology review examines the potential of medicinal cannabis -- or medical marijuana -- for helping patients with intractable epilepsy, in which seizures fail to come under control with standard anticonvulsant treatment.
Fertility rates no different for women with epilepsy
'Myth-busting' study among women with no history of infertility finds that those with epilepsy are just as likely to become pregnant as those without.
Do women with epilepsy have similar likelihood of pregnancy?
Women with epilepsy without a history of infertility or related disorders who wanted to become pregnant were about as likely as their peers without epilepsy to become pregnant.
Hope for new treatment of severe epilepsy
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden believe they have found a method that in the future could help people suffering from epilepsy so severe that all current treatment is ineffective.
More Epilepsy News and Epilepsy Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.