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Neuroreport. 2002 Jan 21;13(1):A3-8.

New concepts in neonatal seizures.

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Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Center for Research in Pediatric Epilepsy, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The immature brain is more prone to seizures than the older brain as a result of an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory input. The depolarizing, rather than hyperpolarizing effect of GABA(A) during the first week of life in the rodent, and the delay in postsynaptic GABA(B) inhibition coupled with the over-expression of glutamatergic synapses contribute to this increased propensity toward seizures. It is now clear that seizures can be injurious to the immature brain, although the pattern of seizure-induced injury is age-related. While the immature brain is resistant to acute seizure-induced cell loss, there are functional abnormalities following seizures with impairment of visual-spatial memory and reduced seizure threshold. Neonatal seizures are also associated with a number of activity-dependent changes in brain development including altered synaptogenesis and reduction in neurogenesis. These results argue that neonatal seizures should no longer be considered as benign events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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