04-04-2016 | Adolescents and children with Type 1 diabetes almost 3 times more likely to develop epilepsy

04 April 2016
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A new study just published indicates that children with Type 1 Diabetes are almost 3 times more likely to develop epilepsy as children without Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the person's immune system attacks its own cells. Increasingly it is believed that some forms of epilepsy may have a similar mechanism and previous research has pointed to associations between having Type 1 diabetes and developing epilepsy, although this needs to be further investigated.

The new study conducted in Taiwan by a team from the China Medical University Children's Hospital led by Dr. Chu, looked at 2,568 adolescents and children newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes over a 9 year period. Of this group 59 had developed epilepsy for the first time and this figure was 2.84 times the rate of the control group. Those who experience hypoglycaemic episodes had a significantly higher risk of epilepsy, more than 16 times that of the control group compared to the rest of the children with Type 1 Diabetes who had a risk of 2.67 times that of the control group.

While more research is needed the findings strongly suggest that the metabolic changes in hypoglycaemia can have a damaging effect on the nervous system with long term consequences. All the children who had had hypoglycaemia with seizures had permanent abnormalities on their EEG's. The authors point to the need for good glucose control in children with Type 1 diabetes to offset the risk of developing such complications and to highlight awareness of the risks of developing epilepsy. 

Read the original article here


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