Infantile spasms (West syndrome) are muscle spasms that affect a
child's head, torso, and limbs. Infantile spasms usually begin before the age
of 6 months.
Most children with infantile spasms have
below-normal intelligence. More than half have severe
Although an exact cause cannot always be found,
infantile spasms may be caused by diseases, injuries, or infections that
occurred before or during birth.
Infantile spasms are treated with adrenocorticotropic hormone (Acthar)
or prednisone. They generally do not respond well to medicines used to treat
epilepsy. Vigabatrin (Sabril) may also be an effective
treatment for infantile spasms especially when they are caused by a disease
called tuberous sclerosis.
By David Elkind
What's the matter? Nothing. Where are you going? Out. Do you
want to talk? No. Does this sound like typical communication between you and
your teen? If so, explore these tips for starting an open and frank discussion
about drugs, sex, self-esteem, and other vital issues. David Elkind, PhD, was
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