[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological and descriptive data concerning the clinical and socio-demographic characteristics of severe acquired brain injuries (ABI) in pediatric age are meager. In particular, in Italy we only find data concerning traumatic brain injury (TBI) in adults. Earlier data show that the most prevalent etiology in ABI is traumatic and that greater clinical impairments are reported for patients with non-traumatic etiologies.
The main aims of the GISCAR (Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio delle Gravi Cerebrolesioni Acquisite e Riabilitazione) study are: 1) to define the clinical features of pediatric patients with severe neurological disabilities; 2) to determine the etiology and onset modality of the cerebral lesions; and 3) to analyse the characteristics of the rehabilitation processes and patient outcome in terms of disability, strategies for treatment and clinical picture.
184 pediatric patients with severe ABI were recruited.
Data collection was done by means of an assessment protocol created and used by a group of Italian neurorehabilitation centers. Traumatic and non traumatic aetiologies (NTBI) have been treated separately.
Traumatic etiology of ABI is the most prevalent (51.6%, N. 95) and about twice as many males as females are involved. Of these cases, 70.5% (N. 67) are the result of a car accident, either as a pedestrian or as a passenger, representing a crucial area for preventive action by the public health services. Eighty-six (46.7%) patients were in the acute state, 19 (10.3%) in subacute state and 76 (42.9%) in chronic condition. The results show that the positive trend for the TBI group was steeper than for NTBIs. Neuropsychological data are also discussed. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: We report the first Italian descriptive study on pediatric patients affected by ABI of traumatic or non traumatic etiology. The main points concerning rehabilitation are that major differences between aetiologies must be taken into account and that ABI of any severity in the acute phase may lead to long term disability, confirming the high social and economic impact of this pathology. Our study demonstrates the great importance of providing specialised rehabilitation centers for pediatric patients, and increases awareness of the importance of ABI prevention.
European journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine 04/2012; 48(3):423-31. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim of the study was to describe prospectively the early neuropsychological evolution including the first pre-cognitive stages of the Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy in Infancy (SMEI) or Dravet syndrome. Five cases, four of whom since before a diagnostic evidence of the Dravet syndrome, were followed up. Full clinical assessment including developmental, visual function and behaviour assessments were serially performed. In four cases, a variable onset age of cognitive decline assessed with developmental scales was preceded some months before by an impairment of visual function; the remaining patient during all the course of follow-up till 51 months of age showed a normal development without visual impairment. A cognitive decline with variable onset was generally confirmed in Dravet syndrome. The previous early impairment of visual function seems to herald the cognitive decline and provides useful prognostic information; furthermore, it possibly suggests some clues for a better understanding of the mechanisms of cognitive deterioration in this syndrome.
Epilepsy research 01/2011; 93(1):73-9. · 2.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To try to prove in patients with refractory symptomatic epilepsy due to early brain injury involving thalamus and complicated by CSWS the effects of the isolation of the injured hemisphere, performed with functional hemisperectomy, on epilepsy, namely on CSWS.
Full clinical follow-up before and after surgery of two cases with CSWS onset at four years in whom functional hemispherecomy was performed with resection of inter-hemispheric connections.
An immediate effectiveness of the surgical treatment was observed on both epileptic evolution (no more seizures) and EEG abnormalities. In particular, CSWS completely disappeared, together with a concurrent progressive improving of the cognitive and behavioural disorders.
The isolation of the injured hemisphere through the section of inter-hemispheric cortico-cortical connections could prevent the contralateral diffusion of discharges coming from the injured cortex and cortico-thalamic network, favouring a normal function of thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuitries in the healthy hemisphere. That could explain the disappearance of CSWS after surgery in our patients and the consequent improvement of cognitive abilities and behaviour.
Epilepsy research 10/2009; 87(2-3):290-8. · 2.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To try to understand the causative role of epilepsy PER SE in the developmental deterioration of brain injured infants, twenty-eight infants affected with early acquired, pre- and perinatal brain injuries were enrolled and divided into three groups, a) those with West syndrome, b) those with other non-West epilepsies, and c) those without epilepsy. Developmental monitoring consisted of a full clinical assessment, including examination of visual function, Griffiths developmental scales, standard EEG, long-term monitoring when necessary, and MRI, from the seizure onset or the first observation to the end of follow-up. Patients with epilepsy showed at study onset abnormal clinical features (neurological and developmental) distinct from those of non-epileptic patients, partially due to the varying severity of their brain injuries. A definite differentiation between groups was observed in the clinical evolution that showed among the epileptic patients, mostly in West syndrome, a significant deterioration. Moreover, impaired visual function at seizure onset was possibly associated with a bad developmental evolution. A developmental deterioration, mostly in West syndrome, accounts for a causative role of the epileptic disorder PER SE, but in few cases it was also observed in infants with only a brain injury, suggesting other aetiopathogenic mechanisms. The predictive value of early visual function seems to be confirmed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The authors report the study of a 30-month-old girl with refractory myoclonic epilepsy associated with mental retardation, growth delay, peculiar facial appearance, and minor physical anomalies. Extensive genetic studies were performed, including an array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) that showed a cryptic interstitial deletion of 15q (5 Mb) affecting the 15q26.1-26.2 region. Partial deletions of the long arm of chromosome 15, including the 15q26 region, were observed in syndromic associations that typically include congenital diaphragmatic hernia, but neurologic features were poorly described and epileptic seizures were never reported. Our findings suggest that genes for seizures could be included in the 15q26.1q26.2 deletion interval.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The authors report their experience about a neuro-cognitive and epileptic long-term follow-up of children with catastrophic epilepsy treated with hemispherectomy in the first 5 years of life. Nineteen children with resistant epilepsy that significantly interfered with their neuro-cognitive development underwent hemispherectomy within 5 years of life (mean: 2 years, 3 months; range: 5 months to 5 years). All patients were assessed before surgery and after, at least at the end of the follow-up (mean: 6 years and 6 months; range: 2-11 years and 2 months) with a full clinical examination including motor ability and functional status evaluation as well as behaviour observation, neuroimaging and an ictal/interictal prolonged scalp video-EEG. A seizure-free outcome was obtained in 73.7% of patients. Gross motility generally improved and cognitive competence did not worsen, with an evident progress in two cases. Consistently with previous reports, evolution was worse in cortical dysplasia than in progressive or acquired vascular cerebropathies. The excellent epileptic outcome and the lack of developmental deterioration in comparison with other more aged series seem to suggest a possible better evolution in earlier surgery treatment. To confirm this suggestion, however, further experience with larger series is needed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to analyse the semiology of seizures in children with frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) and to compare them with other paediatric cohorts described in the literature as well as with adult counterparts. We analysed 174 registered seizures of 18 cases under 12 years with lesional epilepsy whose frontal origin was defined by the concordance of neuroimaging and ictal electrographic findings, and confirmed by surgery in the six cases operated on. Seizures were generally short, with a high daily frequency and usually related to sleep. The most characteristic semiological pattern consisted of complex motor seizures, particularly hypermotor. Often seizures corresponded to a mixture of different semiological patterns (tonic, gelastic, automotor, hypermotor, versive) presenting in the same seizure, often as a unique type in the same patient. With regard to several aspects the semiology of FLE in our cohort looks like that reported in adult series, in particular as to the frequency of complex motor seizures. However, our cohort was also characterised by a more protean array of seizure semiology, stressing the occurrence of seizures typically present in adults (versive and complex motor) and of some seizure patterns more characteristic in children such as epileptic spasms; moreover, the rare occurrence of secondarily generalised tonic clonic seizures (SGTCS) was confirmed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess visual function in 13 infants with evidence of prenatal post haemorrhagic ventricular dilatation.
Infants were assessed at 5, 12 and 24 months using a battery of tests specifically designed to assess various aspects of visual function in infancy. Visual findings were correlated with several variables, including extent of the lesion and presence of epilepsy.
Abnormalities of visual function were frequent (over 60%) in our cohort at age 2 years, ranging from isolated abnormal ocular movements to severe abnormalities of all the aspects of visual function assessed. The most severe and persistent abnormalities of visual function were found in infants with grade IV intraventricular haemorrhage and shunted hydrocephalus who also had epilepsy in the first year.
Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and Neonatal Edition 08/2007; 92(4):F255-8. · 3.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mechanisms inducing continuous spike-wave during slow sleep (CSWS) in encephalopathy with electrical status epilepticus during sleep are still unclear. Recently, some sporadic cases with early thalamic injury associated with CSWS have been reported. The aim of the study was to investigate in a population of patients with an early thalamic injury the presence of an activation of paroxysmal activities during sleep, their characteristics, and possible relations to neuroimaging and neuropsychological features.
Thirty-two patients with prenatal or perinatal thalamic injuries, mostly due to a vascular mechanisms, were fully examined, including neuroimaging, EEG monitoring, and cognitive follow-up.
Twenty-nine of 32 patients showed major sleep EEG activation. Among these 29 patients, two different groups were distinguished: the first included the more or less typical CSWS (12 cases), generally with symmetry of spike and waves (SWs) and often with no spindle at all. The other cases had an usual asymmetry of SWs and presence or reduction of spindles, plus other atypical features concerning synchronism and morphology of SWs. Behavioral disorders were significantly more present in patients with a true CSWS; their improvement (and in one case of the three thoroughly followed the improvement of cognitive competence) paralleled the disappearance of CSWS. The generally predominant injury of the lateral aspect of the thalamus included reticular nucleus and ventral nuclei. An imbalance of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)(B)--versus GABA(A)--mediated receptors may be evoked as a cofactor predisposing to CSWS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epilepsy is relatively common in infants with hydrocephalus. Its mechanism is controversial; in fact, studies on etiologically heterogeneous series are not able to clarify the mechanism generating epilepsy or to suggest effective prevention and treatment strategies. Our study is aimed at assessing the onset and evolution of epilepsy, as well as concurrent cognitive development of a homogeneous series of shunted posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus owing to pre- or perinatal intra- or periventricular hemorrhage. Forty patients were enrolled in the study. Twenty-six were patients with grade II-III intraventricular hemorrhage, 16 of whom had associated ischemic lesions. In the remaining 14 patients, a grade IV intra-ventricular hemorrhage was found. Epilepsy was observed in 27 patients. Aside from 10 cases with nonsyndromic forms of epilepsy, it was possible to define at least three different age-dependent epileptic syndromes: symptomatic neonatal location-related epilepsy with transient West's syndrome in infancy in 5 patients; West's syndrome in 8 patients; and continuous spike-waves during sleep in 4 patients. Epilepsy was significantly correlated with ischemic lesions only. Early thalamic injuries frequently evolved toward continuous spike-waves during sleep, indicating that patients with thalamic injury must be monitored to detect continuous spike-waves during sleep early. Cerebellar atrophy, in addition to epilepsy and other brain injuries, accounted for disorders of cognitive development.
Journal of Child Neurology 04/2005; 20(3):219-25. · 1.39 Impact Factor