New epilepsy research links cerebral malaria to the condition

Posted Nov 17 2010 in Conditions related to epilepsy

New epilepsy research has shown that there could be a direct link between the development of the condition and cerebral malaria.

A study conducted by staff at Michigan State University (MSU) revealed that around a third of African children diagnosed with cerebral malaria developed epilepsy or other behavioural disorders.

Cerebral malaria is a particularly severe form of malaria, which affects the brain and occurs predominantly in children.

Lead author of the report Gretchen Birbeck, an associate professor of neurology and ophthalmology at MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, revealed the potential risks of the disease.

"Our findings show that children with cerebral malaria are at risk of developing several adverse neurological outcomes including epilepsy, disruptive behaviour disorders and disabilities characterised by motor, sensory or language deficits," she said.

Ms Birbeck added that, should the research be "generalised", around 135,000 Africans under five develop epilepsy due to cerebral malaria each year.

The findings were published in The Lancet Neurology journal. 

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