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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2007 Dec;14(4):164-72.

Neurobiological mechanisms of developmental epilepsy: translating experimental findings into clinical application.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Section of Pediatric Neurology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53792, USA.


Although seizures are very common during early brain development, consequences of seizures during this age period are less severe than in the mature brain. Reasons for this discrepancy relate to both the sequential development of neural elements (ion channels, neurotransmitters, synapses, and circuits) and the effects of seizures on these ongoing processes at different ages. In this review, I critically discuss 2 recent experimental trends in developmental neurobiology that impact seizures and their consequences. First, the paradoxic excitatory effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid early in life are related to seizure susceptibility in this developmental period. Second, the plasticity of immature neuronal circuits and the effects of seizures on subsequent cognition and behavior as a function of age are considered. These topics are relevant to the pediatric neurologist when evaluating and treating a young child with seizures.

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