Differential Activation of Neuroinflammatory Pathways in Children with Seizures: A Cross-sectional Study

Abstract, published in Seizure

Purpose: Inflammation plays a crucial role in epileptogenesis. We analyzed inflammatory cytokines in plasma and saliva from children with seizures and healthy controls and measured their associations with HHV6 and EBV infection.

Methods: We analyzed plasma from 36 children within 24 h of seizures (cases) and 43 healthy controls and saliva from 44 cases and 44 controls with a multiplex immunoassay. Saliva from all controls and 65 cases and blood from 26 controls and 35 cases were also analyzed by PCR for viral DNA. Primary outcome was cytokine levels in cases vs. controls. Secondary outcomes included detection of HHV-6 and EBV viral DNA in cases vs. controls and viral loads in cases vs. controls. Statistical analysis included the Wilcoxon Rank Sum test, Fisher’s exact test, ANOVA, and Spearman correlation.

Results: Compared to controls, patients had higher levels of CCL11 (p = 0.0018), CCL26 (p<0.001), IL10 (p = 0.044), IL6 (p<0.001), IL8 (p = 0.018), and MIP1? (p = 0.0012). CCL11 was higher with 3 or more seizures (p = 0.01), seizures longer than 10 min (p = 0.001), and when EEG showed focal slowing (p = 0.02). In saliva, febrile seizures had higher levels of IL-1? (n = 7, p = 0.04) and new onset seizures had higher IL-6 (n = 15, p = 0.02). Plasma and saliva cytokine levels did not show a correlation. The frequency of HHV-6 and EBV detection was similar across groups and not different than controls. We found no correlation between viral load and cytokine levels.

Conclusions: We showed differential activation of neuroinflammatory pathways in plasma from different seizure etiologies compared to controls, unrelated to viral infection.

Study: ‘Rethink’ Use of Anti-seizure Medications After Hospital Discharge in Neonates

Article, originally published in JAMA Neurology

Researchers observed no difference in functional neurodevelopment or epilepsy among children aged 24 months regardless of whether anti-seizure medication was discontinued or maintained in infants at discharge once seizures ceased.

Results of the comparative effectiveness study were published in JAMA Neurology.

“These results support discontinuing anti-seizure medications (ASMs) for most neonates with acute symptomatic seizures prior to discharge from the hospital, an approach that may represent an evidence-based change in practice for many clinicians,” Hannah C. Glass, MDCM, MAS, a pediatric neurologist, founding codirector of the neurointensive care nursery and director of neonatal critical care services at the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, and colleagues wrote.

Surgery for Drug-Resistant Epilepsy in Children

Summary, originally published on docwirenews.com

A systematic review published in Child’s Nervous System evaluated factors associated with and outcomes following hemispherotomy in children with drug-resistant epilepsy.

“Several variations of functional disconnection surgery have been described for the treatment of lateralized, hemispheric, drug-resistant epilepsy in children,” the study authors explained. “The purpose of this study is to investigate the existing literature regarding patient selection, approach, and outcomes after hemispherotomy.”

They performed a systematic review of literature published in English through February 2019. Articles were stratified based on level of evidence. Data on seizure and functional outcomes, surgical techniques, complications, and patient selection were analyzed.

“Both vertical and lateral hemispherotomy approaches result in durable, reproducible benefits to epilepsy severity and functional status in appropriately selected pediatric patients,” the researchers concluded.

Quality of Life at 6 Years in Children Treated for West Syndrome with Hormonal Therapy

Abstract, published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Introduction: West syndrome is a severe epileptic encephalopathy occurring in infancy. Majority of affected children suffer from poor epilepsy control in later life and are dependent on care-givers for daily living. There is no previous study evaluating the Quality of Life (QOL) in children suffered from WS.

Method: A prospective cohort study was performed at six years in a group of children with West syndrome, followed up in the Sri Lanka Infantile Spasm Study (SLISS). The quality of life was evaluated using Sri Lankan Health-Related Quality-of-Life Index for school children (SLHRQ-S), an age-specific, primary caregiver proxy-rated, validated questionnaire for Sri Lankan children with epilepsy. Information on epilepsy, medication, and daily activities was obtained from the parents.

Results: Fifty parents of initial 97 children treated for WS participated. The majority had no ongoing epilepsy (56%) at time of evaluation. The mean QOL was 67.22 (SD 15.68). Mean QOL scores for individual domains showed that physical domain was the worst affected (58.51 (SD = 22.11)). Psychological and social function domains were 68.73 (SD = 17.74) and 75.2 (SD = 14.87), respectively. Male sex (0.02), using multiple anti-seizure medications (0.00) and lower ILAE epilepsy control scale (0.02) were significantly associated with a poor quality of life. Age at onset, delay in treatment, and early spasm control were among the factors that did not influence quality of life.

Conclusion: Despite having control of their epilepsy in the majority, these children suffered from poor quality of life. The greater impact on the physical domain possibly is related to the effect of underlying pathologies.

Patterns of Recording Epileptic Spasms in an Electronic Seizure Diary Compared With Video-EEG and Historical Cohorts

Abstract, published in Science Direct

Background: Use of electronic seizure diaries (e-diaries) by caregivers of children with epileptic spasms is not well understood. We describe the demographic and seizure-related information of children with epileptic spasms captured in a widely used e-diary and explore the potential biases in how caregivers report these data.

Methods: We analyzed children with epileptic spasms in an e-diary, Seizure Tracker, from 2007 to 2018. We described variables including sex, time of seizure, percentage of spasms occurring as individual spasms (versus in clusters), cluster duration, and number of spasms per cluster. We compared seizure characteristics in the e-diary cohort with published cohorts to identify biases in caregiver-reported epileptic spasms. We also reviewed seizure patterns in a small cohort of children with epileptic spasms monitored on overnight video-electroencephalography (vEEG).

Results: There were 314 children in the e-diary cohort and nine children in the vEEG cohort. The e-diary cohort was more likely than expected to report counts divisible by five. The e-diary cohort had a lower proportion of nighttime spasms than expected based on data from published cohorts. The e-diary cohort had a significantly lower percentage of spasms as individual spasms, a greater number of spasms per cluster, and a greater cluster duration relative to the vEEG cohort.

Conclusions: Caregivers using e-diaries for epileptic spasms may miss individual spams, be more likely to report long clusters, round counts to the nearest five, and underreport nighttime spasms. Clinicians should be aware of these reporting biases when using e-diary data to guide care for children with epileptic spasms.

Brief Video Enhances Teacher Trainees’ Knowledge of Epilepsy

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Objective: Relative to the general population, children with epilepsy (CWE) demonstrate difficulties in aspects of cognition and mental health. Previous studies have found that teachers have poor knowledge about epilepsy, which may lead to inadequate management of CWE’s comorbidities and seizures, potentially impacting CWE’s school performance, social development, and safety. The current study aimed to evaluate whether a brief training program improves teachers’ epilepsy knowledge.

Method: Participants included pre-service teachers enrolled in the Faculty of Education at Western University (London, Ontario, Canada). There were no exclusion criteria. Pre-service teachers completed a questionnaire evaluating their experiences and knowledge of epilepsy prior to, and two weeks following, the training program. The training program consisted of a 10.5-min video and booklet that described the characteristics of seizures, seizure first aid, and the cognitive, psychological, and social consequences of epilepsy.

Results: Pre-service teachers’ knowledge about epilepsy, seizure safety, and common comorbidities associated with epilepsy significantly improved after participating in the training program. Furthermore, pre-service teachers indicated greater self-reported knowledge about epilepsy and greater preparedness to handle a seizure in the classroom.

Conclusion: The results of the current study demonstrated that a brief, cost-effective training program significantly enhances teachers’ knowledge about epilepsy, seizure safety, and the comorbidities associated with epilepsy. Enhancing teachers’ knowledge about epilepsy has the potential to improve children’s academic and social success in school.

Challenges in the Treatment of a Chronic Disease: A Study of Narratives of People With Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy

Abstract, originally published in Seizure

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore how people with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy perceive the impact of treatment.

Methods: We conducted 14 interviews of participants with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy recruited with the support of the Brazilian Association of Epilepsy in 2018 in São Paulo. Thematic analysis was carried out by two investigators who independently coded the transcripts and reviewed the coding results to check for agreement.

Results: Participants’ (n = 14, 8 female) mean age was 31.4 years (SD ± 8.3) and their onset of seizures occurred at mean age 13.4 (SD ± 2.9). The answers to the interview questions revealed the paths of participants through life as they dealt with difficulties and challenges. Three interrelated themes and seven sub-themes emerged from the answers of the participants: seizure control, impact of epilepsy and attitude of others.

Conclusion: This investigation may be useful in providing insights for the interventions of health providers in caring for people with JME. Themes and sub-themes that emerged from this study are connected to important aspects of treatment that go beyond focusing solely on seizures.

The Unchanging Face of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome in Adulthood

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy Research

Purpose: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is a severe childhood-onset epileptic encephalopathy characterized by the presence of multiple types of intractable seizures, cognitive impairment, and specific electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns. The aim of this study was to investigate the electroclinical features of patients with LGS during adulthood.

Methods: We retrospectively identified the medical records of 20 patients aged over 18 years with a diagnosis of LGS from 3896 patients with epilepsy.

Results: Thirteen (65 %) patients were male. The mean age of the patients was 23.4 ± 7.1 (min-max; 18-43) years, and the mean follow-up period was 5.6 ± 4.5 (min-max; 1-14) years. The etiology was identified in 11 (55 %) patients. None of the patients achieved seizure freedom. The most prevalent seizure types were atypical absences in 14 (70 %) patients, tonic seizures in 13 (65 %) patients, and atonic seizures in 11 (55 %) patients. One (5 %) patient was diagnosed as having psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. Mental retardation was reported in all patients and only half of them could walk independently. All patients had drug-resistant seizures and 16 (80 %) patients were on polytherapy. A vagus nerve stimulator was implanted into ten (50 %) patients and five reported 50-80 % seizure reduction. Ketogenic diet was administered to two (10 %) patients and epilepsy surgery was performed in two (10 %) patients with no significant benefit.

Conclusions: Paying attention to all factors of seizure outcomes, cognitive impairment, and ambulatory status, all patients were dependent on caregivers for daily living abilities. LGS has life-long persistence with poor outcomes, even during adulthood.

Hemispherectomy Outcome Prediction Scale: Development and Validation of a Seizure Freedom Prediction Tool

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsia

Objective: To develop and validate a model to predict seizure freedom in children undergoing cerebral hemispheric surgery for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy.

Methods: We analyzed 1267 hemispheric surgeries performed in pediatric participants across 32 centers and 12 countries to identify predictors of seizure freedom at 3 months after surgery. A multivariate logistic regression model was developed based on 70% of the dataset (training set) and validated on 30% of the dataset (validation set). Missing data were handled using multiple imputation techniques.

Results: Overall, 817 of 1237 (66%) hemispheric surgeries led to seizure freedom (median follow-up = 24 months), and 1050 of 1237 (85%) were seizure-free at 12 months after surgery. A simple regression model containing age at seizure onset, presence of generalized seizure semiology, presence of contralateral 18-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose-positron emission tomography hypometabolism, etiologic substrate, and previous nonhemispheric resective surgery is predictive of seizure freedom (area under the curve = .72). A Hemispheric Surgery Outcome Prediction Scale (HOPS) score was devised that can be used to predict seizure freedom.

Significance: Children most likely to benefit from hemispheric surgery can be selected and counseled through the implementation of a scale derived from a multiple regression model. Importantly, children who are unlikely to experience seizure control can be spared from the complications and deficits associated with this surgery. The HOPS score is likely to help physicians in clinical decision-making.

Epilepsy Surgery in Children With Electrical Status Epilepticus in Sleep

Abstract, originally published in Neurosurgery

Objective: Pediatric epilepsy surgery candidates with unilateral congenital or early-acquired brain lesions may present with refractory seizures and generalized electroencephalographic features such as electrical status epilepticus in sleep (ESES). The purpose of our study was to review the clinical presentation, neuroimaging findings, and outcome in a series of children with unilateral brain lesions and ESES undergoing resective surgery for refractory epilepsy.

Methods: A total of 415 consecutive patients younger than 18 years of age undergoing video electroencephalographic evaluation and epilepsy surgery at Cleveland Clinic were reviewed for ESES, an underlying pathological lesion, and outcome after surgery.

Results: Eight patients were included. All patients presented with medically refractory epilepsy, hemiparesis, and developmental delay. The pathogenesis was perinatal infarction in 7 patients and malformation of cortical development in 1 patient. Preoperative electroencephalography demonstrated generalized interictal spikes, electroencephalographic seizures, and ESES in all cases. Age at the time of surgery ranged from 3 to 14 years. Six patients underwent hemispherectomy, and 2 patients underwent focal resection. Six patients became seizure-free after resection. Two patients with functional hemispherectomy continued to have rare seizures, but were much improved. These patients also had perinatal infarctions in the hemisphere contralateral to the resection, possibly indicating a less beneficial outcome. Postoperative electroencephalography demonstrated resolution of generalized interictal discharges and ESES in all. Formal pre- and postoperative neuropsychological testing showed overall improvement of age-equivalent scores.

Conclusion: Children with unilateral brain lesions and seizures may become seizure-free after epilepsy surgery, even if the preoperative electroencephalogram shows generalized ESES. The lesion occurring early in life and the location of the lesion may play a role in the development of ESES. Cognitive impairment may be aggravated by the persistence of ESES. Preliminary developmental data in this small sample suggest that termination of seizures and possibly of ESES by epilepsy surgery may have developmental benefits.