Treatment of infantile spasms: Emerging insights from clinical and basic science perspectives

Carl E. Stafstrom, Barry G.W. Arnason, Tallie Z. Baram, Anna Catania, Miguel A. Cortez, Tracy A. Glauser, Michael R. Pranzatelli, Raili Riikonen, Michael A. Rogawski, Shlomo Shinnar, John W. Swann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Infantile spasms is an epileptic encephalopathy of early infancy with specific clinical and electroencephalographic (EEG) features, limited treatment options, and a poor prognosis. Efforts to develop improved treatment options have been hindered by the lack of experimental models in which to test prospective therapies. The neuropeptide adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is effective in many cases of infantile spasms, although its mechanism(s) of action is unknown. This review describes the emerging candidate mechanisms that can underlie the therapeutic effects of ACTH in infantile spasms. These mechanisms can ultimately help to improve understanding and treatment of the disease. An overview of current treatments of infantile spasms, novel conceptual and experimental approaches to infantile spasms treatment, and a perspective on remaining clinical challenges and current research questions are presented here. This summary derives from a meeting of specialists in infantile spasms clinical care and research held in New York City on June 14, 2010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1421
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of child neurology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
  • animal models
  • corticotropin releasing hormone
  • ganaxolone
  • hypsarrhythmia
  • infantile spasms
  • melanocortin
  • vigabatrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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