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June 2002

Simple Febrile Seizures: Do Polymorphisms of the Interleukin 1 Gene Cluster Simplify Our Understanding?

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(6):529-530. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.6.529

FEBRILE SEIZURES are among the most common pediatric neurological problems, affecting approximately 2% to 5% of all children.1 Febrile seizures usually present between 6 months and 5 years of age1 and are classified as simple if they occur with rise of temperature, last 15 minutes or less, and are not followed by postictal paralysis, neurological deficit, or an abnormal interictal electroencephalogram. Simple febrile seizures are equally common in boys and girls and often run in families. The genetic susceptibility to febrile seizures seems to involve multiple genes in most instances.2 But what are those genes? Some forms of familial epilepsy may initially present as simple febrile seizures, and several of these disorders are due to defined genetic causes such as deficiencies of neuronal sodium channels3 or GABA receptors.4 However, it is not known if polymorphisms in those genes involved in familial epilepsies also contribute to the pathogenesis of simple febrile seizures. Since less than 3% of children with simple febrile seizures progress to persistent epilepsy,1 this suggests that at least some of the genes involved in the susceptibility to simple febrile seizures vs familial epilepsies are likely to differ.

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