October 19, 2022

Walking Difficulties With Dravet May Signal Limited Mobility

Article published by Dravet Syndrome News

Children and adolescents with Dravet syndrome with walking difficulties commonly experience impairments in functional mobility and greater restrictions in daily life activities, a study suggests.

Its researchers recommend that physiotherapy be given patients to improve their gait, potentially allowing for better mobility in daily life.

The study, “The relation between gait abnormalities and daily functional mobility in developmental epileptic encephalopathies: The case of Dravet syndrome,” was published in the journal Gait & Posture.

Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe type of epilepsy that usually appears during the first year of life, is characterized by impaired cognitive and motor development. Patients often show walking problems which, according to caregivers, affect their and their family’s quality of life.

Researchers in Belgium investigated whether walking difficulties in Dravet children correlate with limitations in functional mobility — the ability to move freely — in daily life.

They analyzed data from 40 children and teenagers (19 girls and 21 boys; mean age, 12.3 years) with Dravet. The children’s walking ability was evaluated annually using instrumented 3D gait analysis. The gait profile score (GPS) was used to assess their overall walking ability and how much it deviated from normal.

The analysis revealed that patients — particularly children younger than age 8 years, and those older than 18 years — showed mobility limitations, especially for longer distances (500 meters).