Continuous Spike-Wave During Slow Sleep Syndrome

Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Continuous spike-wave during slow sleep syndrome (CSWS) occurs during childhood and is characterized by seizures and spike-wave epileptic activity while sleeping. This means that while you are in the slow wave (deep sleep) portion of the sleep cycle the electrical activity of your brain is creating a spike-wave pattern. This condition occurs in 0.5-1.5% of children with epilepsy and has roughly a 3:2 male to female ratio. CSWS is linked to genetic factors, especially mutations in the gene GRIN2A. Seizures usually begin around age 2-4, may be unilateral (affecting one side of the body), tonic-clonic (you initially stiffen and loose consciousness) or clonic (you exhibit rapid jerking movements) and occur during sleep. A child’s difficulty to understand speech, express their own thoughts using language, or a slowing down of the learning process may indicate CSWS. Seizures become more frequent and severe around age 5-6. CSWS is diagnosed by analyzing EEG (a test that measures the electrical activity in your brain) findings. The best method to control CSWS is to control seizures, which can be done with antiepileptic drugs. Seizures usually become less frequent or disappear by adolescence.

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