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Vöglein, Jonathan; Ricard, Ingrid; Noachtar, Soheyl; Kukull, Walter A.; Dieterich, Marianne; Levin, Johannes and Danek, Adrian (2020): Seizures in Alzheimer's disease are highly recurrent and associated with a poor disease course. In: Journal of neurology, Vol. 267: pp. 2941-2948 [PDF, 839kB]


BACKGROUND Seizures are an important comorbidity in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Conflicting results regarding clinical parameters associated with seizures in AD were previously reported. Data on seizure recurrence risk, a crucial parameter for treatment decisions, are lacking. METHODS National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center data were analyzed. Seizure prevalence in AD and an association with disease duration were investigated. Associations of seizures with age of AD onset and with cognitive and functional performance, and seizure recurrence risk were studied. RESULTS 20,745 individuals were investigated. In AD dementia, seizure recurrence risk was 70.4% within 7.5 months. Seizure history was associated with an earlier age of onset of cognitive symptoms (seizures vs. no seizures: 64.7 vs. 70.4 years; p < 0.0001) and worse cognitive and functional performance (mean MMSE score: 16.6 vs. 19.6; mean CDR-sum of boxes score: 9.3 vs. 6.8; p < 0.0001; adjusted for disease duration and age). Seizure prevalence increased with duration of AD dementia (standardized OR = 1.55, 95% CI = 1.39–1.73, p < 0.0001), rising from 1.51% at 4.8 years to 5.43% at 11 years disease duration. Seizures were more frequent in AD dementia compared to normal controls (active seizures: 1.51% vs. 0.35%, p < 0.0001, OR = 4.34, 95% CI = 3.01–6.27; seizure history: 3.14% vs. 1.57%, p < 0.0001, OR = 2.03, 95% CI = 1.67–2.46). CONCLUSION Seizures in AD dementia feature an exceptionally high recurrence risk and are associated with a poor course of cognitive symptoms. AD patients are at an increased risk for seizures, particularly in later disease stages. Our findings emphasize a need for seizure history assessment in AD, inform individual therapeutic decisions and underline the necessity of systematic treatment studies of AD-associated epilepsy.

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