Our son, Sam, goofing around at home days before he developed a life-threatening form of epilepsy known as febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome.
Parents David and Jennifer Cowan share how the rapid initiation of a special medical diet known as the ketogenic diet helped their son recover by leaps and bounds after he suffered from a rare, life-threatening form of epilepsy known as febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES). For more about how the ketogenic diet is used to treat epilepsy, please see a Q&A with the ketogenic diet team from Seattle Children’s Neurosciences Center.
Over the summer of 2017, our 4-year-old son Sam came down with a high fever that lasted about a week. Seemingly recovered, a day or two later he awoke as normal, snuggled and watched morning cartoons. But shortly after, and completely unexpectedly, Sam began to seize uncontrollably and stopped breathing. Read full post »
April 13, 2018 | Neurosciences, Patient CareComments Off on Food as Medicine: High-Fat Keto Diet Prescribed to Treat Epilepsy
Neurologists at Seattle Children’s prescribe the ketogenic diet for the treatment of epilepsy and other neurological conditions.
Doctors first started using the ketogenic diet to treat patients with epilepsy in the 1920s. While the diet has evolved over the decades to include less strict versions, and is gaining mainstream popularity for weight loss, children with epilepsy and other neurological conditions continue to benefit from its seizure-controlling effects.
The ketogenic diet team at Seattle Children’s Neurosciences Center takes a modern approach to help families use food as medicine. Here, ketogenic diet team members, neurologist Dr. Christopher Beatty; advanced practice provider Haley Sittner; clinical dietitian Marta Mazzanti; and nurse Deborah Rogers discuss how the diet works and how the team sets families up for success on the ketogenic diet. Read full post »
March 13, 2018 | Neurosciences, ResearchComments Off on Out of Breath? Braking Neurons Play Surprising Role in Rapid Breathing
New research from Seattle Children’s offers fresh insight into how the brain sets the pace of breathing.
Next time a workout has you winded, the inhibitory neurons in your brain may be to blame. This is according to new research from Seattle Children’s Research Institute that offers fresh insight into how the brain sets the pace of breathing.
In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers used laser light to manipulate very specific classes of neurons responsible for breathing. The technique, known as optogenetics, helps scientists isolate neurons in the brain to study their function.
When stimulated in the lab, the researchers found excitatory neurons – the brain’s go signal – actually slow breathing, while inhibitory neurons – the brain’s stop signal – intervene to make breathing more rapid. In addition to explaining how the brain adapts breathing in response to everyday cues, the finding could lead to more precise treatments for neurological conditions that frequently involve breathing abnormalities. Read full post »
February 1, 2018 | Neurosciences, ResearchComments Off on Study Finds Neuron Inhibition May be Key in New Treatments for Addiction
New research suggests inhibiting one group of neurons’ activity may prove to be a highly effective treatment for reducing relapse in recovering addicts.
A new study published by researchers from Seattle Children’s Research Institute reveals how neurons in the brain fuel drug-seeking behavior following compulsive drug use. Their findings, published online in Addiction Biology, suggest inhibiting one group of neurons’ activity may prove to be a highly effective treatment for reducing relapse in recovering addicts.
While the science of addiction is beginning to show how pathological drug use causes the brain’s “go” pathway to become overactive, little is known about what renders some individuals vulnerable to developing addiction and what protects others against it. There are also few effective treatments available to people who develop a drug addiction, or the approximately 90% of individuals who relapse following addiction treatment.
Luke Avansino, now 8, was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis complex, a rare genetic disorder, as an infant.
Eight years ago, Dr. Jeff Avansino, a surgeon at Seattle Children’s, and his wife, Dr. Amy Criniti, welcomed their third child – a boy named Luke.
For the first few months of Luke’s life, he developed as expected. At about 6 months old, he started having spells of irritability. Avansino and Criniti, both physicians, thought it was likely due to a virus. But Luke’s spells continued.
“My wife has good intuition and knew something was wrong,” Avansino said. “She started looking into his symptoms and thought he might be having infantile spasms, or seizures.”
They took Luke in for tests and Criniti was right – Luke was having seizures. Doctors also found light colored patches on his skin. Further testing confirmed that Luke has a rare genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Read full post »
Genetic testing helped diagnose Nolan Wood, 3, with KCNQ3 epilepsy.
Even though Nolan Wood hadn’t experienced a seizure in more than two years, his parents still had questions about their son’s future.
“We wondered if there were others out there that have what Nolan has,” said Emily Wood, Nolan’s mom. “If so, what does their life look like?”
The Woods’ search for answers began when Nolan, 3, was diagnosed with infantile spasms and regression of his motor skills when he was 6 months old. Before receiving seizure medications, Nolan had hundreds of daily subtle, reflex-like seizures. Due to the regression of his motor skills, he had stopped rolling over, smiling and crying. A condition known as cortical visual impairment had also rendered him legally blind. Read full post »
Lillee Haynes, 4, surrounded by her three older brothers.
When 4-year-old Lillee Haynes runs through the doors of Seattle Children’s South Clinic for her speech therapy appointment and heads straight for a table covered in crayons, it’s hard to imagine that nearly two years ago she faced hundreds of epileptic seizures each day.
“Her seizures happened so often that I installed a camera above her bed to record any she had at night,” said Aimee Haynes, Lillee’s mom. “One night the camera recorded 200 movements. I was shocked to see how many seizures disrupted her sleep.”
Lillee’s brain didn’t rest until she underwent not one, but two neurosurgeries at Seattle Children’s to remove the diseased area of her left brain, allowing her healthy brain to grow and develop.
“You could say Lillee is most definitely right-brain dominant,” laughed Haynes. “That might explain why she has such a spicy personality.” Read full post »
Seattle Children’s researchers consulted with the Northwest Junior Football League before moving ahead with a CDC-funded program addressing safety and concussion awareness in youth sports. Photo courtesy of Brian Bodine Photography/NJFL
Seattle Children’s researchers will launch an innovative program in early 2018 aimed at shifting the culture of safety in youth sports and building concussion awareness during competitive play.
The program, called One Team, emphasizes community engagement in conducting brief pre-game safety huddles involving coaches, officials, parents and athletes, with a goal of addressing both sportsmanship and the importance of removing an athlete from play if they potentially have a concussion.
On Thursday nights this summer, 7-year-old Arabelle Laddusaw is saddling up alongside other children and teens to compete in the Tomorrow’s Rodeo Champions’ summer rodeo series in her hometown of Billings, Montana. As she sits up straight and grips the reins of her horse in anticipation of the chute opening, her cerebral palsy is the last thing slowing down the thrill of events such as barrel racing, pole bending and the crowd favorite, goat tail tying.
However, the prospect of being able to sit naturally on a horse wasn’t always a future possibility for Arabelle who was diagnosed at birth with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that affects muscle movement and limits mobility.
As a toddler, the muscles in Arabelle’s legs were so tightly wound they would scissor – one leg twisting over the other – making it difficult for her to stand upright or simply straighten her legs out in front of her when sitting.
“With her, it was challenging because she required constant assistance,” said Arabelle’s mother, Christine Laddusaw. “She wasn’t just a normal child that you could put down and let play.” Read full post »
Seattle Children's complies with applicable federal and other civil rights laws and does not discriminate, exclude people or treat them differently based on race, color, religion (creed), sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin (ancestry), age, disability, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law. Financial assistance for medically necessary services is based on family income and hospital resources and is provided to children under age 21 whose primary residence is in Washington, Alaska, Montana or Idaho.