The mechanisms that cause febrile seizures, the most common type of convulsive event in children, are not well understood. However, a recent study has found a link between febrile seizures and acidity levels in the bloodstream (called the pH level).
The study examined two groups of children who had been admitted to hospitals: one that had been admitted for febrile seizures, and one that had been admitted for gastroenteritis. The researchers found that the children admitted for febrile seizures had blood with lower-than-normal levels of acidity (alkalosis) while the children admitted for gastroenteritis had blood with higher-than-normal acidity levels (acidosis). Furthermore, they noted that children who are susceptible to febrile seizures do not appear to experience seizures when experiencing a fever induced by gastroenteritis.
The study concluded that the link between febrile seizures and a particular type of alkalosis caused by the excessive loss of carbon dioxide (respiratory alkalosis) may eventually lead to therapies for treating or even preventing febrile seizures. (Sebastian Schuchmann, et al., "Respiratory alkalosis in children with febrile seizures," Epilepsia, published online September 12, 2011.)
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