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Diagnosis and Treatment of Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood

The diagnosis and treatment of patients with Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC) and related disorders should be provided by a multidisciplinary team experienced with the spectrum of presentations of this disease, with its related disorders, with its complex and fluctuating manifestations, and with cutting edge advances occurring in the field.

Involvement in research to advance the understanding of this disease and partnership with international collaborators and family organizations are also important. An example of such an approach is that of The Duke AHC and Related Disorders Multi-Disciplinary Clinic and Program, which, in partnership with the Cure AHC Foundation, has developed and applied this approach to patients seen since early 2013. The program provides comprehensive care and education directly to AHC patients and their families and collaborates with referring physicians on the care of patients with AHC whether evaluated at Duke clinics or not.

It also is involved in clinical and basic research and in collaborations with other International AHC Research Consortium (IAHCRC) partners. The clinic is staffed with physicians and experts from Neurology, Cardiology, Child Behavioral Health, Medical Genetics, Neurodevelopment, Neuropsychology, Nursing, Physical and Occupational Therapies, Psychiatry, Sleep Medicine, and Speech/Language Pathology. Patients are seen either for full comprehensive evaluations that last several days or for targeted evaluations with one or few appointments.

Alternating hemiplegia of childhood is a serious disorder that, together with its related disorders, is becoming increasingly recognized. Its diagnosis and management require a multidisciplinary team that addresses all aspects of this very complex disease and the needs of the patient and family. Active clinical and basic science research and collaboration among centers concentrating on this disease are creating opportunities to deepen the understanding of this disorder and to better treat it.

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