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19-02-2016 | Finnish study on the efforts to prevent epilepsy in the last 40 Years

19 February 2016
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This 2015 Finnish study aimed to determine whether progress has been made in the prevention of epilepsy in Finland during the last 40 years.

The researchers examined inpatient hospital admissions in Finland for those with a diagnosis of epilepsy between 1973 and 2013. Individuals with epilepsy were defined by the incidence of 2 or more unprovoked seizures.

From the hospital admissions data the study identified 100,792 people with epilepsy. From these numbers they identified the following:

  •  46,995 (47%) had focal epilepsy
  •  Average age for men was 45 years
  •  Average age for women was 46 years
  •  No change in the occurrence of epilepsy in those younger than 65 years
  •  Significant increase in epilepsy among those older than 65 years.

The authors concluded that there is no evidence that progress has been made in preventing new-onset epilepsy in those under 65 years in the last 40 years; in fact, there was a significant increase in new-onset epilepsy among the elderly population. They said the increase in incidence among older patients was not unexpected because there are older individuals in the Finnish population, as well as an increase in incidence of stroke and dementia, leading causes of new-onset epilepsy. The authors acknowledged some study limitations.

JAMA Neurol. Published online February 15, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.4515

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