Shaun Hussain, MD, MS: Risk of Infantile Spasms in Siblings

December 23, 2019

The director of Infantile Spasms Program at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital detailed his personal experience counseling parents whose first child has infantile spasms.

“We’re actually quite a bit more confident that the risk to subsequent children is low in the absence of specific genetic etiologies — this is really reassuring.”

Outside of identifying specific genetic etiologies, predicting the risk of infantile spasms in siblings of affected individuals can be difficult—and a risk many families aren’t willing to take. Despite MRIs, genetic testing, and other diagnostic tools, it isn’t always clear why a patient has IS, making predicting risk in offspring especially difficult.

At the 73rd annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES), Shaun Hussain, MD, MS, director of the Infantile Spasms Program at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, presented his study on the rates of IS, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and other epilepsies among siblings of patients with IS. As expected, many parents opted to not have another child because they were not willing to “roll the dice.”

However, Hussain and colleagues found that less than 1% of patients who had IS had a sibling with IS as well.

In an interview with NeurologyLive, Hussain sympathized with parents, noting the extreme stress that having a child with IS can bring; however, these latest results serve to demonstrate the low likeliness that it will happen again.

For more coverage of AES 2019, click here.