Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome is a Severe Form of Epilepsy.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome may be caused by
brain malformations, lack of oxygen
during birth, severe head injury,
nervous system infections, or inherited
conditions. In 30% to 35% of affected
children, no cause can be found.
New Hope for Patients Affected by Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a Severe Form of Epilepsy;
(ARA) - Chances are most people are familiar with the
medical condition of epilepsy and the seizures that can
be associated with the disorder. But many may not
realize that epilepsy can range in severity, from mild
to severe, and can be classified into syndromes, based
on a number of factors, including the type of seizure a
person experiences, according to the Epilepsy
Foundation. One of the most severe forms of childhood
epilepsy is Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a condition
that causes multiple types and a high frequency of
seizures (sometimes up to 100 a day) and presents
profound challenges for patients and their caregivers.
Accounting for 1 to 4 percent of all childhood epilepsy
cases, LGS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 1
and 5 years old. Patients experience a range of seizure
types, including absence (staring) and tonic (muscle
stiffening) seizures. But one of the most common and
devastating seizures affecting LGS patients is the
atonic seizure or “drop attack.” Characterized by a
sudden loss of consciousness followed by a fall to the
ground, the Epilepsy Foundation reports drop attacks can
be the cause of significant injury in LGS patients, thus
requiring many patients to wear protective helmets to
avoid facial and head injuries.
Today, says Tracy Glauser, MD, Director, Comprehensive
Epilepsy Program, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical
Center, Ohio, continuing research on behalf of LGS and
other severe forms of epilepsy are resulting in new
medications that are proven to reduce seizures
associated with LGS. “It’s exciting that new medical
treatments are now available to reduce some of the most
difficult seizures, such as drop attacks. As the goal of
treatment for these severe conditions is to achieve
seizure control as much and as early as possible, these
new options are cause for hope for both patients and
Kim SanInocencio says this news is much anticipated by
families touched by LGS. Mother of a 21-year-old son who
was diagnosed with LGS at the age of 3, and co-founder
of the LGS Foundation, SanInocencio says an LGS
diagnosis is completely life-changing. “Every family
experiences LGS differently, but we all share one thing
in common, and that is living with the unexpected.
Because day to day, the seizures -- and the consequences
-- are different, we all live in great anticipation of
new treatment options that could make a difference.”
Beyond the difficulties posed by multiple seizures, LGS
can present other challenges as well. The severity of
seizures can lead to developmental delays and behavioral
problems, confronting families with multiple issues from
what to do about schooling to how to keep their other
children’s lives as normal as possible, according to
www.emedicine.com. The condition also can result in
financial and social challenges, as many parents are
forced to leave their jobs in order to be full-time
caregivers at home. Consequently, social isolation
becomes yet another issue with which to contend.
Because LGS has multiple medical and other consequences
for patients and families, Glauser says his best advice
to caregivers is to partner with a physician who
understands the all-encompassing nature of the condition
and who will work with families to determine the best
course of action for the patient.
SanInocencio agrees. “Caregivers must be advocates for
their loved ones. By keeping the lines of communication
open with physicians and other LGS families, we can all
help to create a supportive environment to help each
other cope with the challenges we face.”
For more information on epilepsy and LGS, visit
www.livingwithepilepsy.com or www.LGSfoundation.org.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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