New study highlights presentations of COVID-19 in people with epilepsy.

A new study from Iran which focussed on the impact of COVID-19 in patients with epilepsy has recently been published in the medical journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica.

The findings present some welcome news, reiterating that there is no evidence that people with epilepsy are more susceptible or more adversely affected by COVID-19. However, the researchers also found that COVID-19 may present differently in people with epilepsy compared with people without epilepsy.

In the study, data was collected from a province of South Iran. This included a total of 37,968 patients who were admitted to healthcare facilities in this province from the period February 19th 2020 to November 20th 2020.

Within this cohort of patients, 82 were identified as having epilepsy.

The results from the study showed that people with epilepsy were neither more nor less likely to:

(a) be intubated,
(b) be admitted to ICU or
(c) die because of Covid-19 infection when compared to the general population.

Interestingly however, the study reported that there was a difference in how COVID-19 presented in people with epilepsy. Seizures were significantly more likely to be a presenting manifestation of COVID‐19 among people with existing epilepsy compared with first time seizures in people without epilepsy. In addition, a cough, which is a symptom commonly reported as a sign of COVID-19 was not as prevalent amongst those with epilepsy, while gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting etc) were more prevalent amongst people with epilepsy when compared with the general public.

No conclusions could be drawn as to why these differences exist and the authors note that further research will have to be undertaken. In the meantime however, this trait is something for people with epilepsy and their families to bear in mind as they continue to stay safe.

You can read this study in full HERE.

We will continue to monitor all emerging epilepsy research in relation to COVID-19 and post updates on our website and social media channels.

Remember, we are still here for you. Please get in touch with your local Community Resource Officer if you require any support with your or your family member’s epilepsy during these challenging times.