38 research outputs found

    Characteristics of 698 patients with dissociative seizures: a UK multicenter study

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    Objective We aimed to characterize the demographics of adults with dissociative (nonepileptic) seizures, placing emphasis on distribution of age at onset, male:female ratio, levels of deprivation, and dissociative seizure semiology. Methods We collected demographic and clinical data from 698 adults with dissociative seizures recruited to the screening phase of the CODES (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy vs Standardised Medical Care for Adults With Dissociative Non‐Epileptic Seizures) trial from 27 neurology/specialist epilepsy clinics in the UK. We described the cohort in terms of age, age at onset of dissociative seizures, duration of seizure disorder, level of socioeconomic deprivation, and other social and clinical demographic characteristics and their associations. Results In what is, to date, the largest study of adults with dissociative seizures, the overall modal age at dissociative seizure onset was 19 years; median age at onset was 28 years. Although 74% of the sample was female, importantly the male:female ratio varied with age at onset, with 77% of female but only 59% of male participants developing dissociative seizures by the age of 40 years. The frequency of self‐reported previous epilepsy was 27%; nearly half of these epilepsy diagnoses were retrospectively considered erroneous by clinicians. Patients with predominantly hyperkinetic dissociative seizures had a shorter disorder duration prior to diagnosis in this study than patients with hypokinetic seizures (P < .001); dissociative seizure type was not associated with gender. Predominantly hyperkinetic seizures were most commonly seen in patients with symptom onset in their late teens. Thirty percent of the sample reported taking antiepileptic drugs; this was more common in men. More than 50% of the sample lived in areas characterized by the highest levels of deprivation, and more than two‐thirds were unemployed. Significance Females with dissociative seizures were more common at all ages, whereas the proportion of males increased with age at onset. This disorder was associated with socioeconomic deprivation. Those with hypokinetic dissociative seizures may be at risk for delayed diagnosis and treatment

    SUDEP, the aftermath: supporting the bereaved

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    Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy is a recurring calamity, yet there is little evidence to guide standards of care for supporting the bereaved. Grief in bereavement includes loss, feelings of guilt, anger and blame. There is also the shock and trauma of the sudden event. How can this be alleviated? This paper focuses on guiding the physician to support the bereaved, while recognising the limited evidence and the varying circumstances that may not always facilitate this. We propose a pathway of care and mode of communication with the deceased's family, with whom contact is currently limited. We suggest timely contact by telephone or in person, followed by ongoing support and referral to voluntary organisations and specialist services, as needed. Clarification and discussion may mitigate inappropriate feelings of guilt and blame, and may help the family with their sudden and unexpected loss

    Cortical excitability correlates with seizure control and epilepsy duration in chronic epilepsy

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    OBJECTIVE: Cortical excitability differs between treatment responders and nonresponders in new‐onset epilepsy. Moreover, during the first 3 years of epilepsy, cortical excitability becomes more abnormal in nonresponders but normalizes in responders. Here, we study chronic active epilepsy, to examine whether cortical excitability continues to evolve over time, in association with epilepsy duration and treatment response. METHODS: We studied 28 normal subjects, 28 patients with moderately controlled epilepsy (≀4 seizures per year) and 40 patients with poorly controlled epilepsy (≄20 or more seizures per year). Resting motor threshold (RMT), active motor threshold (AMT), short‐interval intracortical inhibition (SICI), intracortical facilitation (ICF) and cortical silent period (CSP) were measured, using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Disease and treatment covariates were collected (age at onset of epilepsy, epilepsy duration, number of drugs prescribed, total drug load, sodium channel drug load). RESULTS: RMT and AMT were higher in patients than in normal subjects; RMT and AMT were higher in poorly controlled than moderately controlled patients. ICF at 12 msec and 15 msec were lower in poorly controlled patients than in normal subjects. Long‐interval intracortical inhibition (LICI) at 50 msec was higher in poorly controlled compared to moderately controlled patients. These differences were not explained by antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment or duration of epilepsy. RMT and AMT increased with duration in the poorly controlled group, but did not increase with duration in the moderately controlled group. INTERPRETATION: Cortical excitability differs markedly between moderately controlled and poorly controlled patients with chronic epilepsy, not explained by disease or treatment variables. Moreover, the evolution of cortical excitability over time differs, becoming more abnormal in the poorly controlled group

    After sudden unexpected death in epilepsy: lessons learned and the road forward

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    The devastating effects of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) can be difficult to navigate, even for experienced clinicians. Mounting evidence supports full disclosure of the risks of epilepsy to those affected and their caregivers, and recommendations from regulatory and professional groups encourage the same. Following a death, families are faced with tragedy, guilt, and sometimes anger. Clinicians are often called upon to provide information and support. The development of a comprehensive approach to SUDEP education requires careful consideration of the people living with epilepsy, facts about SUDEP and known risk factors, as well as experiences of families and care providers. In this article, we share the experiences of those working in SUDEP education and epilepsy care, including the voluntary sector. We explore the experience of bereaved families and clinicians, derive lessons from published research, highlight areas where more research is needed, and report on preliminary data from a nationwide study from France

    Revealing a brain network endophenotype in families with idiopathic generalised epilepsy

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    Idiopathic generalised epilepsy (IGE) has a genetic basis. The mechanism of seizure expression is not fully known, but is assumed to involve large-scale brain networks. We hypothesised that abnormal brain network properties would be detected using EEG in patients with IGE, and would be manifest as a familial endophenotype in their unaffected first-degree relatives. We studied 117 participants: 35 patients with IGE, 42 unaffected first-degree relatives, and 40 normal controls, using scalp EEG. Graph theory was used to describe brain network topology in five frequency bands for each subject. Frequency bands were chosen based on a published Spectral Factor Analysis study which demonstrated these bands to be optimally robust and independent. Groups were compared, using Bonferroni correction to account for nonindependent measures and multiple groups. Degree distribution variance was greater in patients and relatives than controls in the 6-9 Hz band (p = 0.0005, p = 0.0009 respectively). Mean degree was greater in patients than healthy controls in the 6-9 Hz band (p = 0.0064). Clustering coefficient was higher in patients and relatives than controls in the 6-9 Hz band (p = 0.0025, p = 0.0013). Characteristic path length did not differ between groups. No differences were found between patients and unaffected relatives. These findings suggest brain network topology differs between patients with IGE and normal controls, and that some of these network measures show similar deviations in patients and in unaffected relatives who do not have epilepsy. This suggests brain network topology may be an inherited endophenotype of IGE, present in unaffected relatives who do not have epilepsy, as well as in affected patients. We propose that abnormal brain network topology may be an endophenotype of IGE, though not in itself sufficient to cause epilepsy

    Incidence and mechanisms of cardiorespiratory arrests in epilepsy monitoring units (MORTEMUS): a retrospective study.

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    International audienceBACKGROUND: Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the leading cause of death in people with chronic refractory epilepsy. Very rarely, SUDEP occurs in epilepsy monitoring units, providing highly informative data for its still elusive pathophysiology. The MORTEMUS study expanded these data through comprehensive evaluation of cardiorespiratory arrests encountered in epilepsy monitoring units worldwide. METHODS: Between Jan 1, 2008, and Dec 29, 2009, we did a systematic retrospective survey of epilepsy monitoring units located in Europe, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand, to retrieve data for all cardiorespiratory arrests recorded in these units and estimate their incidence. Epilepsy monitoring units from other regions were invited to report similar cases to further explore the mechanisms. An expert panel reviewed data, including video electroencephalogram (VEEG) and electrocardiogram material at the time of cardiorespiratory arrests whenever available. FINDINGS: 147 (92%) of 160 units responded to the survey. 29 cardiorespiratory arrests, including 16 SUDEP (14 at night), nine near SUDEP, and four deaths from other causes, were reported. Cardiorespiratory data, available for ten cases of SUDEP, showed a consistent and previously unrecognised pattern whereby rapid breathing (18-50 breaths per min) developed after secondary generalised tonic-clonic seizure, followed within 3 min by transient or terminal cardiorespiratory dysfunction. Where transient, this dysfunction later recurred with terminal apnoea occurring within 11 min of the end of the seizure, followed by cardiac arrest. SUDEP incidence in adult epilepsy monitoring units was 5*1 (95% CI 2*6-9*2) per 1000 patient-years, with a risk of 1*2 (0*6-2*1) per 10,000 VEEG monitorings, probably aggravated by suboptimum supervision and possibly by antiepileptic drug withdrawal. INTERPRETATION: SUDEP in epilepsy monitoring units primarily follows an early postictal, centrally mediated, severe alteration of respiratory and cardiac function induced by generalised tonic-clonic seizure, leading to immediate death or a short period of partly restored cardiorespiratory function followed by terminal apnoea then cardiac arrest. Improved supervision is warranted in epilepsy monitoring units, in particular during night time. FUNDING: Commission of European Affairs of the International League Against Epilepsy