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March 1979

Febrile Seizures

Author Affiliations

1039 St Paul St Baltimore, MD 21202

Arch Neurol. 1979;36(3):180. doi:10.1001/archneur.1979.00500390098018

To the Editor.—  From our discussions with thousands of physicians during the past four decades, we have learned that a major concern relative to "febrile convulsions" is that such attacks, particularly if recurrent, often result in intellectual impairment or mental retardation. This notion, which is based largely on investigations that included significant numbers of subjects who were neurologically abnormal before the initial convulsion or whose seizures were associated with acute cerebral disorders such as meningitis or encephalitis, has prompted some clinicians to immediately institute prolonged daily anticonvulsant drug therapy, usually phenobarbital, in all children whose first seizure is associated with an elevation of temperature, including simple febrile convulsions.Therefore, we are writing to compliment Ellenberg and Nelson (Archives 35:17-21, 1978) for their excellent comprehensive, controlled study that demonstrated that "... febrile seizures, initial or recurrent, are not likely to cost the child a measurable decrement in intelligence or early academic achievement."

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