Alzheimer's Gene Linked to Brain Injury Seizures

Gene variation increases risk of attacks following head traumas

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MONDAY, June 16, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A gene associated with Alzheimer's disease is also linked with posttraumatic brain injury seizures, says a study in the June issue of the Archives of Neurology.

The presence of a variation of the APOE gene, called epsilon 4, increases the risk that a person will suffer seizures after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Researchers gathered information about 106 people admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of moderate or severe traumatic brain injury. The patients were evaluated six months after their injuries and DNA samples were collected to determine the variation of the APOE gene.

Six months after their brain injuries, 21 percent of the patients had poor outcomes, 44 percent had intermediate outcomes, and 28 percent had favorable outcomes. The study found that 20 percent of the patients had at least one late posttraumatic seizure.

People who had the epsilon 4 variation of the APOE gene had a 2.41 times greater risk of late posttraumatic seizure than patients without that variation. But the epsilon 4 variation of the APOE gene was not associated with poorer outcomes for the brain injury patients.

Posttraumatic seizures are common in people who've suffered traumatic brain injury. It occurs in 25 percent to 30 percent of severe head injury and 5 percent to 10 percent of cases of mild to moderate head injury.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about head and brain injuries.

SOURCE: Archives of Neurology, news release, June 16, 2003
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