SNM Logo Fever-induced refractory epileptic encephalopathy in school-age children (FIRES) may be very much difficult to treat. This condition occurs in previously healthy children who after a brief fever report acute seizures resistant to medication. As these seizures halt, the patient seemingly goes through severe cognitive dysfunction, involving language, memory and behavior. According to a recent study, positron emission tomography (PET) scans can aid in treating cognitive dysfunction of FIRES, its evolution and further diagnosis.

While conducting the study, eight patients diagnosed with FIRES were subjected to ‘18F-FDG PET Reveals Frontotemporal Dysfunction in Children with Fever-Induced Refractory Epileptic Encephalopathy.’ Authors carried out a neuropsychologic evaluation, brain MRI and an 18F-FDG PET scan on each study subject. Having registered severe cognitive dysfunction, experts failed to identify any abnormalities for the patient and the PET scans revealed dramatic cognitive impairment.

The outcome of FIRES patients was compared to a pseudo-control group of epilepsy patients undergoing normal MRI and PET scan. With the help of statistical parametric mapping, investigators examined brain activity and asserted that brain dysfunction is linked with epilepsy in the FIRES patients. Catherine Chiron, M.D., Ph.D., pediatric epileptologist and head of the Research Program on Epilepsy at Hospital Necker – Enfants Malades in Paris, and colleagues anticipate that using 18F-FDG PET more extensively and accurately in pediatric imaging empowers clinicians to interpret PET images with objectivity as well as sensitivity.

The study is published in the January issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.