After a stroke, statistics show that some people are more likely to develop epilepsy, while some are not. It is not fully understood why this is. Now a new study hopes to help with this. This means that people who have had a stroke could receive early epilepsy treatment if necessary.
Every year around 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. It is the most common cause of epilepsy in people over the age of 60. A stroke can cause brain injury because of bleeding or blockage of the blood supply. When a stroke happens, it can cause a seizure at the site of the damage. Seizures can also develop later.
The reasons why some people develop epilepsy after a stroke and other people don’t are not fully understood. Dr Beate Diehl and colleagues at University College London have been awarded some money to study this by Epilepsy Research UK. They will try to identify risk factors for post-stroke epilepsy in a small group of people that have had strokes.
The research team will look at brain scans and other brain images as part of the study. By doing this they hope to better understand how the brains of people with and without post-stroke epilepsy are different. The study will be performed on a group of 500 patients.
By the end of the study, the researchers hope to be able to tell what to look for to show if somebody is likely to develop epilepsy after a stroke. Doctors can then check the brains of people who have had a stroke. Any signs that epilepsy is likely to develop could then be treated straight away, before the seizures themselves start.