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Smoking Linked to Higher Seizure Risk in Women

Study finds past smoking also associated with a higher risk of epilepsy

THURSDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Women who smoke have a higher risk of seizure, while past smokers have a modestly increased risk of epilepsy, according to a study published in Epilepsia.

Barbara A. Dworetzky, M.D., and colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analyzed data on cigarette smoking, caffeine use, and alcohol intake in 116,363 women (aged 25 to 42 years) from the Nurses' Health Study II. They observed 95 cases of seizure and 151 cases of epilepsy from 1989 to 2005.

After adjusting for stroke and other factors, the researchers found a higher risk of seizure in women who currently smoked (relative risk, 2.60 compared with never smokers). Past smoking was associated with a higher risk of epilepsy (relative risk, 1.46). In contrast, there was no association of long-term caffeine use and moderate alcohol consumption with seizure or epilepsy.

"Cigarette smoking may be associated with increased risk of seizure," Dworetzky and colleagues conclude. "Because there is little knowledge of modifiable risk factors for seizures or epilepsy, more prospective studies are needed to find ways to possibly prevent their occurrence."

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