The basic, or fundamental, cause of infantile spasms is unknown. It has been recognized for many years that children who have some degree of preexisting central nervous system dysfunction are at increased risk for developing this disorder within the first year of life. But, this is not invariably true, and a significant number of cases occur in children who have apparently developed normally until the time of onset. In this chapter, we consider the vast number of pathological conditions that have been identified as probable, or possible, etiological and predisposing factors. In most instances, it is not possible to determine with any degree of certainty whether or not a particular condition is causally related to the onset of infantile spasms, as opposed to simply coincidental. These issues are addressed again in Chapter 10, where evidence concerning the pathophysiological basis of the disorder is considered.
KeywordsDown Syndrome Tuberous Sclerosis Infantile Spasm Angelman Syndrome Cortical Dysplasia
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