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Question : My six-month-old daughter started to have seizures. She had 3 on Thursday, 20-30 on Friday, 2 on Saturday and none since then. All she does is stop, roll her eyes to the back of her head and then cry. We are waiting on the results of an EEG. But can...
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Henry H. Bernstein, D.O., is a senior lecturer in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is chief of General Academic Pediatrics at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth and professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School. He is the former associate chief of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital Boston.

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April 26, 2013
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Seizures happen when an abnormal electrical signal sparks in the brain – rather like a short circuit. When the electrical impulse is firing, the part of the body that is usually controlled by that area of the brain can twitch, shake and stiffen. Or the eyes can roll back. Doctors call this a “focal” or “partial” seizure.

Sometimes the abnormal electrical impulse travels over the whole brain. Then the whole body has shaking movements. This is called a “generalized” seizure.

Why do these abnormal electrical signals happen in the brain? Some of the most common causes are head injuries, infections, abnormalities in blood chemistry levels or tumors. Very often, however, babies have seizures without any obvious cause.

Your doctor has probably ordered a variety of tests to explore possible underlying causes of the seizures and determine appropriate treatment. You mentioned that your baby has had an EEG (electroencephalogram). This test looks at the electrical impulses coming from the different areas of your baby’s brain. This test can often tell your doctor where the abnormal signals are coming from, and if the seizures might continue to happen. Your doctor might also test your baby’s blood or spinal fluid. Or he or she may order a CT scan or MRI of your baby’s head.

Talk with your pediatrician about your baby’s test results. Check what he thinks is the best way to treat her seizures. Depending on the test results, your doctor may recommend medicine to help control the seizures.

Sometimes babies and older children need to take medicine on a long-term basis. They might also need to have EEGs every so often to follow the electrical activity in the brain. Your pediatrician can provide specific advice based on your child’s needs.

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