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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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Alternating Hemiplegia

Alternating hemiplegia is a rare neurological disorder that develops in childhood, most often before the child is 18 months old. The disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of paralysis that involve one or both sides of the body, multiple limbs, or a single limb. The paralysis may affect different parts of the body at different times and may be brief or last for several days. Oftentimes these episodes will resolve after sleep. Affected children may also have abnormal movements involving stiffening or "dance-like" movements of a limb, as well as walking and balance problems. Some children have seizures. Children may have normal or delayed development. There are both benign and more serious forms of the disorder. Most children do not have a family history of the disorder; however, recent studies have show that some children with a family history have mutations in the genes CACNA1A, SCN1A, and ATP1A2. Mutations in the ATP1A2 gene have previously been associated with families affect by familial hemiplegic migraine.

Treatment

Drug therapy including verapamil may help to reduce the severity and duration of attacks of paralysis associated with the more serious form of alternating hemiplegia

Prognosis

Children with the benign form of alternating hemiplegia have a good prognosis. Those who experience the more severe form have a poor prognosis because intellectual and mental capacities do not respond to drug therapy, and balance and gait problems continue. Over time, walking unassisted becomes difficult or impossible.

Research

The NINDS supports research on paralytic disorders such as alternating hemiplegia, with the goals of learning more about these disorders and finding ways to prevent, treat and, ultimately cure them.

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.

Organizations

Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation (AHCF)

Voluntary, non-profit foundation established to support children who are afflicted with AHC and their parents. Supports research, raises funds, and offers a newsletter, brochures, and fact sheets to those interested in knowing more about AHC.

31250 Plymouth Road
Livonia, MI 48150
Tel: 888-557-5757
Fax: 248-246-1172

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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