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of everyone affected by epilepsy

People who have had strokes “more likely” to develop epilepsy

8 September, 2005

The likelihood of
someone who has had a stroke developing epilepsy is greater the more
severe the stroke was, according to new research published in the
journal Epilepsia.

Researchers from the Norwegian National Centre for Epilepsy
studied data from almost 500 patients and found that just over three
per cent of people who had had a stroke developed epilepsy. Those who
experienced severe strokes had five times the risk of developing
epilepsy compared to those with less severe strokes.

Morten I. Lossius, director of the department for education and research at the Centre, said:

"It
is important to perform further studies to find out whether newer
treatments, such as acute thrombolysis can reduce the frequency of
post-stroke epilepsy. It is also important to try to improve the
treatment of stroke patients beyond what today are known as the gold
standards, which apart from thrombolysis, was followed in our study.
New neuroprotective drugs and increased use of thrombolysis may play an
important role in future treatment."

The
researchers added it is vital that health workers are aware of the risk
of post-stroke epilepsy. If they are able to detect seizures among
stroke patients, treatment with anti-epileptic drugs are often
effective in preventing the patient from having more seizures.