What are infantile spasms?

July 17, 2022 | Crandall & Pera Law
What are infantile spasms?

Ohio parents hope their children are healthy at birth. Unfortunately, some babies suffer birth injuries that can affect them anywhere from the short term to long term. One condition parents should be aware of is infantile spasms.

What are infantile spasms?

Infantile spasms are a type of epilepsy that affects babies younger than one year old. It’s a type of neurological disorder sometimes caused by infant brain injury. A parent can tell that their child is affected by brief jerking or tensing up in the neck, head, arms, legs or belly. When a baby experiences spasms, they may only last a second or two and then occur again in clusters every five to 10 seconds after. Infantile spasms usually occur after a baby has awakened from sleep. Those affected often have developmental delays or developmental regression. It’s important for parents to be aware of these facts and speak to their child’s pediatrician if they notice signs of infantile spasms.

What causes infantile spasms?

There are a variety of factors that can cause infantile spasms. Brain injuries from a lack of oxygen or blood flow or a perinatal stroke can lead to the development of the condition. A baby can also have it when there are problems with their brain development while still in the womb. It’s also believed that certain gene mutations in a child such as Down’s syndrome and other conditions can cause infantile spasms. A child might also develop the condition if there are metabolic conditions present. This could happen if certain nutrients you take in during pregnancy are blocked to the fetus. The rarest cause of infantile syndrome is a vitamin B6 deficiency.

What are the symptoms of infantile syndrome?

Symptoms of infantile syndrome may include the following:
  • Eyes rolling up
  • Chin movements
  • Nodding of the head
  • Grimacing
  • Belly tensing
Babies may be extra fussy, too quiet, smile less and may not socially interact normally when they have this condition.