Rasmussen's encephalitis is a rare, progressive neurological disorder, characterized by frequent and severe seizures, loss of motor skills and speech, hemiparesis (paralysis on one side of the body), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), dementia, and mental deterioration. more...
The disorder, which affects a single cerebral hemisphere, generally occurs in children under the age of 10.
When seizures have not spontaneously remitted by the time hemiplegia and aphasia are complete, the standard treatment for Rasmussen's encephalitis is surgery to remove or disconnect the affected part of the brain (hemispherectomy). Although anti-epileptic drugs may be prescribed initially, they are usually not effective in controlling the seizures. Alternative treatments may include plasmapheresis (the removal and reinfusion of blood plasma), ketogenic diet (high fat, low carbohydrate), and steroids.
Prognosis for individuals with Rasmussen's encephalitis varies. Untreated, the disorder may lead to severe neurological deficits including mental retardation and paralysis. In some patients surgery decreases seizures. However, most patients are left with some paralysis and speech deficits.
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