When does epilepsy start?
It is estimated that about five percent of all people will experience an epileptic seizure (occasional seizure) at least once in their lifetime. Scientists from Columbia University are now investigating when an affected person can be diagnosed with the disease. According to their results, a dramatically increased probability of further seizures can be assumed after two or three spontaneous epileptic seizures. After stroke and Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy is the third most common neurological disease. According to Allen Hauser, professor at Columbia University, it has not yet been precisely defined after how many epileptic seizures one can speak of a chronic disease: Our study shows that the occurrence of two seizures is a necessary and sufficient criterion for the definition of a represents epilepsy. In newly diagnosed patients, the risk of further seizures can be predicted.
In the study, 204 patients were followed over a period of eight years, starting with the onset of their first epileptic seizure. Within the next five years, only a third of the study participants had a recurrence. But once a second seizure occurred, the likelihood of another seizure rose to 73 percent. If the patient had already had three seizures, then this probability of a subsequent seizure rose to 76 percent.
Once a patient has a second seizure, the risk of a third or fourth seizure is very high,Ó says Hauser. So that means after the second attack treatment should be started.
The Heidelberger Verlag Spektrum der Wissenschaft is the operator of this portal. Its online and print magazines, including "Spektrum der Wissenschaft", "Gehirn&Geist" and "Spektrum – Die Woche", report on current research findings.