Researchers have noted a higher incidence of depression among patients with epilepsy than the general population or others with chronic conditions such as diabetes. For a long time, depression was thought to be a complication of epilepsy.
But there is evidence that the connection between epilepsy and depression may be a two-way street, according to research carried out in Sweden and the United States and reviewed at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). "People with a history of depression have a 3 to 7 times higher risk of developing epilepsy," said Dr. Andres Kanner, a specialist on epilepsy at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "This kind of information is forcing us to take a second look at the interaction between depression and epilepsy."
Since depression affects about 5.3 percent of the U.S. population and epilepsy about 0.5 to 1 percent, session organizers said, knowledge of any relationships between the two disorders could help physicians find ways to improve care for both groups. The two-way relationship between epilepsy and depression could mean common pathogenic mechanisms are at work, Kanner said.
Earl Lane | EurekAlert!
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