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    Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood

    Important
    It is possible that the main title of the report Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Synonyms

    • AHC
    • alternating hemiplegia syndrome

    Disorder Subdivisions

    • None

    General Discussion

    Alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by repeated episodes of weakness or paralysis that may affect one side of the body or the other (hemiplegia) or both sides of the body at once (quadriplegia). Additional episodic symptoms usually include intermittent abnormal eye movements, episodes of muscle stiffness or posturing (dystonia), and in a substantial percentage of cases, seizures. Delays in attaining developmental milestones (developmental delays), cognitive impairment, and persistent issues with balance and the presence of continuous dance-like movements of limbs or facial muscles (chorea) may occur independently of episodes of paralysis, weakness or stiffness and persist between episodes. The severity of AHC and the specific types of episodes that occur can vary dramatically from one individual to another. First symptoms usually begin before the age of 18 months. AHC is caused by mutations in the ATP1A3 gene in the majority of those affected.

    AHC is a rare disorder that was first reported in the medical literature in 1971 by doctors Simon Verret and John C. Steele. They described an unusual disorder in eight children who demonstrated intermittent episodes of weakness, affecting first one side of the body, then the other, with onset in early childhood, including one child who manifested symptoms as early as 3 months of age. However, the disorder remained poorly understood for many years, in part, because of its rarity and complex and highly variable symptoms. More research is necessary to improve early diagnosis, understand the full range of symptoms, and develop more effective treatments. The recent identification of a causative gene for AHC should lead to a better understanding of the disorder and open new avenues for treatment.

    Resources

    The Arc
    1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200
    Washington, DC 20006
    Tel: (202)534-3700
    Fax: (202)534-3731
    Tel: (800)433-5255
    TDD: (817)277-0553
    Email: info@thearc.org
    Internet: http://www.thearc.org

    Epilepsy Foundation
    8301 Professional Place
    Landover, MD 20785-7223
    Tel: (866)330-2718
    Fax: (877)687-4878
    Tel: (800)332-1000
    TDD: (800)332-2070
    Email: ContactUs@efa.org
    Internet: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org

    Contact A Family
    209-211 City Road
    London, EC1V 1JN
    United Kingdom
    Tel: 02076088700
    Fax: 02076088701
    Tel: 08088083555
    Email: info@cafamily.org.uk
    Internet: http://www.cafamily.org.uk/

    Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation
    31250 Plymouth Rd.
    Livonia, MI 48150
    USA
    Tel: (888)557-5757
    Fax: (650)365-5798
    Tel: (888)557-5757
    Email: info@ahckids.org
    Internet: http://www.ahckids.org

    NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    P.O. Box 5801
    Bethesda, MD 20824
    Tel: (301)496-5751
    Fax: (301)402-2186
    Tel: (800)352-9424
    TDD: (301)468-5981
    Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

    For a Complete Report:

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

    The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

    It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

    This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

    For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

    Last Updated: 1/25/2013
    Copyright 1995, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2013 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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