Researchers have developed an animal model of infantile spasms, improving the likelihood of finding new treatments for the thousands of young children who suffer from these catastrophic epilepsy seizures, according to research.
Infantile spasms are a specific type of epilepsy seizure seen in infancy and early childhood. The disorder involves a sudden bending forward and stiffening of the body, arms, and legs. The seizures typically last one to five seconds and occur in clusters, ranging from two to 100 spasms at a time. There are few available treatments.
In two studies, the authors report developing a mouse model of infantile spasms that produces effects closely resembling human infantile spasms. The mouse model also responded to current treatments, including adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), in a similar manner.
"Infantile spasms can last for months to years in children. Having an animal model that resembles this long duration is likely to be useful for analyzing the evolution of this disease, and how it is best treated in different stages," said study author O. Carter Snead, III, MD, with the University of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
"Since children with this disorder often develop it without any apparent cause, such a mouse model will also improve the likelihood of finding new treatments," said study author Miguel Cortez, MD, with the University of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.