Dravet syndrome is a serious form of childhood epilepsy that first shows up in babies at six to nine months old, resulting in cognitive impairments, autistic-like behaviors, and premature death.
About 15 percent of children with Dravet syndrome die before they reach the age of 13, according to William Catterall, a lead researcher, professor, and former chair of UW pharmacology. Before researchers understood this disease, the mortality rate was double today’s, with 30 percent dying before their teenage years. Still, most of the children that survive suffer severe cognitive impairment and struggle to live independently.
“It’s a very serious matter for the children and their families and their caregivers,” Catterall said. “It’s a huge burden on the healthcare system. Even though it’s a small number of people, they require lifelong care.”
Following a clinical trial in July testing the effects of cannabidiol on the seizures