Infantile spasms

What this article is about:  This article provides a brief overview of infantile spasms and provides a link to additional resources for support.

Infantile spasms, also called West Syndrome, is a very serious type of epilepsy that tends to affect infants under the age of 2 years.  It is characterized by clusters of peculiar-looking seizures, called spasms. Spasms usually present as a brief interruption of behavior, often with lifting and extension of the arms and bending forward at the waist. Often, this movement occurs at the same time as a quick and forceful drop of the head. Clusters of spasms typically last five minutes or less.  Children often cry after spasms.  Spasms most frequently occur when the child is waking up, but they can happen at an time.

For more information, including videos and online support groups, please see the Infantile Spasms Project web site at UCLA.