Young South African Boy with Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Receives Successful Treatment


There is a little boy in South Africa who is the only one in the country to be reported to have the ultra-rare neurodevelopmental disorder called alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC). This disorder only affects 1 in every million people.

A South African Medical Journal article has reported that the little five-year-old boy is now doing better with his treatment.

No specific treatment for AHC exists. The goal is to decrease the frequency and the severity of the attacks, to control symptoms when they happen, and stop triggers. Patients will also almost always need to take medicine for the rest of their lives.

Trying to manage AHC can be difficult because there is no cure but there are treatments like flunarizine that have been found to be helpful. Flunarizine, however, is not available in South Africa. However, a different drug, topiramate, is available in the country.

The young boy’s mother states that her son would previously have episodes of paralysis that would start with his arm and go down to his leg. This would happen as often as once a week. Sometimes, both parts of his body or legs would be affected for long periods.

The little boy’s disorder has affected his schooling and social activities as well. He initially tried to attend preschool but had to be removed because he was having trouble adjusting.

The little boy had trouble speaking, and could not complete simple acts.

However, he eventually was put on a drug called verapamil. He has being doing well with treatment and did not have any bad side effects. His episodes of paralysis went from potentially once a week to once a month.

Also, the severity of his paralysis was reduced with symptoms leaving in at least 24 hours.

He has now been able to enroll in a special needs school where he and his improvements are being watched closely.


Read the original article here. 

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