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Stroke sufferers at increased risk of developing epilepsy


Researchers in Norway determined that stroke severity measured by the Scandinavian Stroke Scale is a statistically significant predictor for epilepsy after stroke. Data shows that more than 20,000 Americans will develop epilepsy due to stroke each year. This research is published in the August issue of the journal Epilepsia.

In one of the longest follow-up studies performed with data from almost 500 patients, researchers found that 3.1% of people who suffered a stroke developed epilepsy. Those who experienced severe strokes had five-times the risk of developing epilepsy post-stroke compared to those with less severe strokes. Neither treatment in a specialized stroke unit, age at onset of stroke, or geographical location seemed to influence the risk of developing epilepsy after a stroke in this study.

"It is important to perform further studies to find out whether newer treatments, such as acute thrombolysis can reduce the frequency of post-stroke epilepsy," states Morten I. Lossius, Director of the Department for Education and Research of the National Centre for Epilepsy in Norway. "It is also important to try to improve the treatment of stroke patients beyond what today are known as the gold standards, which apart from thrombolysis, was followed in our study. New neuroprotective drugs and increased use of thrombolysis may play an important role in future treatment."

Researchers add it is vital that health workers are aware of the risk of post-stroke epilepsy. If they are able to detect epileptic seizures among stroke patients, treatment with anti-epileptic drugs are often effective in preventing the patient from having more seizures.

Sharon Agsaldal | EurekAlert!
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