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NINDS Disorders is an index of neurological conditions provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This valuable tool offers detailed descriptions, facts on treatment and prognosis, and patient organization contact information for over 500 identified neurological disorders.

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Ohtahara Syndrome

Ohtahara syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by seizures.  The disorder affects newborns, usually within the first three months of life (most often within the first 10 days) in the form of epileptic seizures.  Infants have primarily tonic seizures, but may also experience partial seizures, and rarely, myoclonic seizures.  Ohtahara syndrome is most commonly caused by metabolic disorders or structural damage in the brain, although the cause or causes for many cases can’t be determined.  Most infants with the disorder show significant underdevelopment of part or all of the cerebral hemispheres.  The EEGs of infants with Ohtahara syndrome reveal a characteristic pattern of high voltage spike wave discharge followed by little activity.  This pattern is known as “burst suppression.” Doctors have observed that boys are more often affected than girls.

Treatment

Antiepileptic drugs are used to control seizures, but are unfortunately not usually very effective for this disorder.  Corticosteroids are occasionally helpful.  In cases where there is a focal brain lesion (damage contained to one area of the brain) surgery may be beneficial.  Other therapies are symptomatic and supportive. 

Prognosis

The course of Ohtahara syndrome is severely progressive.  Seizures become more frequent, accompanied by physical and mental retardation.   Some children will die in infancy; others will survive but be profoundly handicapped.  As they grow, some children will progress into other epileptic disorders such as West syndrome and Lennox-Gestaut syndrome. 

Research

The NINDS conducts and supports an extensive research program on seizures and seizure-related disorders.  Much of this research is aimed at increasing scientific understanding of these disorders and finding ways to prevent, treat, and potentially cure them.

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.

Organizations

Epilepsy Foundation

National charitable organization dedicated to the welfare of people with epilepsy. Works to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; to improve how people with epilepsy are perceived, accepted and valued in society; and to promote research for a cure. Offers a Legal Defense Program through a fund.

8301 Professional Place
Landover, MD 20785-7223
Tel: 301-459-3700 800-EFA-1000 (332-1000)
Fax: 301-577-2684

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

Federation of voluntary health organizations dedicated to helping people with rare "orphan" diseases and assisting the organizations that serve them. Committed to the identification, treatment, and cure of rare disorders through programs of education, advocacy, research, and service.

55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

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