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Children's Seizures Not Always Damaging, Study Finds

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Children's Seizures Not Always Damaging, Study Finds

Those caused by fever don't appear to harm brain function

MONDAY, Dec. 3, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Not all prolonged seizures permanently hurt children with epilepsy, according to preliminary findings from a long-term follow-up study.

The study included 74 children with epilepsy who underwent an evaluation of brain health and mental skills within 10 years of initial enrollment.

The tests showed that those who had experienced prolonged febrile seizures (convulsions triggered by a fever) were normal, the American and British researchers said.

The study authors said they were surprised to discover that only one child had mesial temporal sclerosis, a type of brain damage that is most common in temporal lobe epilepsy. This suggests that the connection between febrile seizures and this condition is weaker than previously believed.

The study was scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society in San Diego.

"We have good reason to be confident that children with childhood status epilepticus can have good long-term outcomes, based on these preliminary results," Dr. Richard Chin, one of the researchers, said in a society news release.

The study team includes researchers from University College London's Institute of Child Health, Young Epilepsy in Lingfield, U.K., Edinburgh University, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, N.H., and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London.

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about febrile seizures (http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/febrile.html ).

SOURCE: American Epilepsy Society, news release, Dec. 3, 2012