Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Greater seizure frequency seen in women with epilepsy during anovulatory cycle

Possible role for reproductive steroids in occurrence of tonic-clonic seizures

A recent multi-center study determined that women with generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) had a greater number of seizures during anovulatory cycles—menstrual cycles where an egg is not released—than in cycles where ovulation occurs. According to the study publishing today in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), reproductive steroids may play a role in GTCS occurrence.

Medical evidence has shown that sex hormones, estradiol and progesterone, have neuroactive properties that can affect seizures. Previous studies by Andrew Herzog, MD, MSc, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts and colleagues found that ratios of hormone levels in the blood differ in relation to the ovulatory status of menstrual cycles, with anovulatory cycles having higher estradiol-progesterone ratios during the second half of the menstrual cycle (luteal phase) compared to ovulatory cycles. Further studies have determined that anovulatory cycles are more common among women with epilepsy than in the general population.

To expand on their prior research, Dr. Herzog and colleagues used data collected during the Progesterone Trial Study—a 3-month investigation of progesterone therapy for focal onset seizures that are difficult to control. Of the 281 women who participated, 92 had both anovulatory and ovulatory cycles during the study period, with progesterone levels of 5 ng/ml measured in the latter part of the menstrual cycle, designating ovulation.

Among the 281 study participants, 37% had GTCS, 81% had complex partial seizures (CPS) and 38% had simple partial seizures (SPS). In the 92 women who had both ovulatory and anovulatory cycles, the seizure percentages were slightly lower, but not significantly different. Researchers determined that the average daily seizure frequency was 30% greater in the women during their anovulatory cycles than in those cycles were ovulation occurred. Seizure frequency did not differ significantly for CPS, SPS, or for all seizures combined.

"Our results showed that GTCS frequency during anovulatory cycles correlate with proportional increases in estradiol-progesterone level ratios, suggesting sex hormones contribute to seizure incidence," concluded Dr. Herzog. "Efficacy results from the phase 3 clinical trial of a progesterone supplement that generated the data for the current study are forthcoming, and may provide a much needed treatment option to control seizures in women with epilepsy."

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), tonic-clonic seizures, formerly known as grand mal seizures, are the most common type of generalized seizure and cause symptoms that include stiffening of the body, repeated jerking of the arms or legs, and loss of consciousness. The Epilepsy Foundation estimates that 200,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed each year in the U.S., and roughly half of those are generalized onset seizures.

This study is published in Epilepsia. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact

Full citation: "Variation of Seizure Frequency with Ovulatory Status of Menstrual Cycles." Andrew G. Herzog, Kristen M. Fowler, Michael R. Sperling, Joyce D. Liporace, Laura A. Kalayjian, Christianne N. Heck, Gregory L. Krauss, Barbara A. Dworetzky, Page B. Pennell, and the Progesterone Trial Study Group Epilepsia; Published Online: July 14, 2011 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03194.x).

Epilepsia is the leading, most authoritative source for current clinical and research results on all aspects of epilepsy. As the journal of the International League Against Epilepsy, subscribers every month will review scientific evidence and clinical methodology in: clinical neurology, neurophysiology, molecular biology, neuroimaging, neurochemistry, neurosurgery, pharmacology, neuroepidemiology, and therapeutic trials. For more information, please visit

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (, one of the world's most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.

Dawn Peters | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Make way for the mini flying machines

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Taming chaos: Calculating probability in complex systems

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>