This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Nodding syndrome is a rare form of epilepsy that occurs in children between the ages of 5 and 16. It is seen almost exclusively in children living in specific regions of Tanzania, Uganda and the Republic of South Sudan. Signs and symptoms of the condition include head nodding, seizures, stunted growth, and deterioration of cognitive abilities. Nodding syndrome may lead to malnutrition or even death through seizure-associated accidents. Many studies have identified an association between Nodding syndrome and Onchocerca volvulus, a parasitic worm that can also cause a condition called river blindness. More recently, scientists have found evidence to suggest that the condition is caused by an inappropriate immune response to the parasitic worm. Although there is currently no cure for Nodding syndrome, medical centers in Uganda have shown that treatment with certain medications (antiepileptic drugs and ivermectin), adequate nutrition, and psychosocial support can improve the long-term outlook of the condition.
For more information, visit GARD.