Martina Bebin, MD, MPA: Challenges Associated With Infantile Spasms


The professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Epilepsy Center detailed challenges faced by children with infantile spasms and how the spasms evolve later in life.

"One of the biggest concerns is that it puts them at a very high risk to have refractory seizures, or seizures that do not respond to medication.”

Infantile spasms are seizures that typically begin in infants between 3 and 8 months of age, characterized by a sudden stiffening followed by knees pulling up and the body bending forward. These seizures can last for a few seconds, but usually occur close together in a series. Babies who are diagnosed with this condition often will have their development slowed, and potentially lose skills such as sitting, rolling over, or babbling.

These spasms usually will stop by 2 to 4 years of age but can still develop into other types of epilepsies. Treating these seizures early and appropriately can be critical to maximizing the child’s developmental potential, according to Martina Bebin, MD, MPA. Bebin, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Epilepsy Center, has been ingrained in the epilepsy community for over 30 years, and understands the attention that children with infantile spasms deserve.

She sat down with NeurologyLive to discuss some of the challenges these patients with infantile spasms face and how those issues can lead to greater developmental concerns as they continue to grow.

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