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Frequent short seizures "may predict mental health issues"

6 February, 2007

A study has been published which investigates the relationship between epilepsy, depression and anxiety. The study, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Epilepsia, suggests that the characteristics of someone's seizures may predict the development of psychiatric symptoms.

People who have frequent, short seizures appear to have a higher risk of developing mental health issues, say the authors.

"Traditionally,
epilepsy focused in specific lobes of the brain was considered more
likely to have psychiatric consequences," says study author Wilhelmina
Swinkels, "but our work shows that more frequent or acute seizure
activity is more likely to be the culprit."

According
the study, people with more frequent seizures but a shorter history of
seizure activity are more likely to have psychiatric disturbances.

"Despite
the fact that there appears to be a connection between epilepsy and
psychiatric disorders, our research tools are still evolving and are
not able to account for all of the factors involved in this complex
process," says Swinkels.

"Continued investigation of this relationship is required to truly understand it."