Young adults with
generalised epilepsy whose seizures have no known cause (idiopathic)
are four times more likely to develop type 1 diabetes, according to a
new study published in the journal Annals of Neurology.
Researchers, led by Dr Dougal McCorry from the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery,
Liverpool, investigated clinical experiences that people having both
epilepsy and diabetes were more common than would be expected.
study looked at 518 people with idiopathic generalised epilepsy aged
between 15 and 30 and found that seven of them had type 1 diabetes (one
person in 74). The figures were then compared to 150,000 members of the
general population, of whom 465 had type 1 diabetes (one person in
six of the seven cases of people who had both conditions, the diabetes
was diagnosed before the epilepsy. The researchers say that this may be
because diabetes causes idiopathic generalised epilepsy or because
diabetes, in general, develops at an earlier age than epilepsy. The
team also suggests that some people with type 1 diabetes may develop
epilepsy due to low blood sugar.