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Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

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 caregivers.”

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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