Little Progress Made in Preventing New-Onset Epilepsy

Finnish study also shows significant increase in new-onset epilepsy among the elderly

nervous system

TUESDAY, Feb. 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A long-term study shows that little progress has been made in the prevention of epilepsy in Finland over the past 40 years. The findings were published online Feb. 15 in JAMA Neurology.

Matti Sillanpää, Ph.D., M.D., of the University of Turku in Finland, and colleagues conducted a long-term national register study of 5.04 million individuals (mean age, 45 to 46 years) in Finland to assess first-time inpatient admissions for a diagnosis of epilepsy from 1973 to 2013.

The researchers found that 100,792 people had epilepsy; of these, 46,995 (47 percent) had focal epilepsy. There was no change in the incidence of epilepsy among those younger than 65 years (60 per 100,000 in 1973 and 64 per 100,000 in 2013). Among those older than 65 years, there was a significant increase in epilepsy, from 57 to 217 per 100,000.

"We found no evidence that progress has been made in preventing new-onset epilepsy in those younger than 65 years in the last 40 years; in fact, there was a nearly five-fold rise of new-onset epilepsy among the elderly population," the authors write.

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