Researchers Develop Animal Model of Infant Seizures

It could speed discovery of new treatments

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WEDNESDAY, April 25, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have developed a mouse model of infantile spasms, which may help in the development of new treatments for this kind of epileptic seizure afflicting young children.

Infantile spasms cause a sudden bending forward and stiffening of the body, arms and legs. The seizures, which typically last one to five seconds, occur in clusters of two to 100 at a time. There are few available treatments, according to background information in a news release.

In two studies presented this week at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Boston, researchers outlined a mouse model of infantile spasms that produces effects similar to that seen in humans.

"Infantile spasms can last for months to years in children. Having an animal model that resembles this long duration is likely to be useful to analyzing the evolution of this disease, and how it is best treated in different stages," study author Dr. O. Carter Snead, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, said in a prepared statement.

"Since children with this disorder often develop it without any apparent cause, such a mouse model will also improve the likelihood of finding new treatments," study author Dr. Miguel Cortez, also of the Hospital for Sick Children, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about infantile spasms.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, April 25, 2007

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