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Long-Term Epilepsy Risk High After Traumatic Brain Injury

But lengthy window may provide opportunities for prevention of post-traumatic epilepsy

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In children and young adults with traumatic brain injury, the risk of epilepsy persists for 10 years or longer, according to a report published online Feb. 23 in The Lancet.

Jakob Christensen, M.D., of Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark, and colleagues analyzed Civil Registration System data on over 1.6 million people born in Denmark between 1977 and 2002, and obtained information on traumatic brain injury and epilepsy from the National Hospital Register.

Overall, the researchers found that epilepsy was significantly associated with mild brain injury, severe brain injury and skull fracture (relative risks, 2.22., 7.40 and 2.17, respectively), and that the risk was increased more than 10 years after all three occurrences (relative risks, 1.51, 4.29 and 2.06, respectively). They also found that patients with a family history of epilepsy had higher risk of epilepsy after mild and severe brain injury (relative risks, 5.75 and 10.09, respectively).

"Drug treatment after brain injury with the aim of preventing post-traumatic epilepsy has been discouraging, but our data suggest a long time interval for potential, preventive treatment of high-risk patients," the authors write.

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