Convulsive seizures could play a key role in Alzheimer’s disease

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Image: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

It’s no surprise to neurologists that some people experience convulsive seizures in the later stages of [Alzheimer’s] disease. 

But because brain damage can cause seizures, they were long thought to be just one more casualty of a deteriorating brain.

Now evidence is accumulating that such abnormal electrical activity is far more common and occurs much earlier — and perhaps even precedes obvious signs of memory loss. This raises the possibility that seizures may be intimately tied up with the progression of the disease.

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One study looked at 55 patients between the ages of 50 and 69 who were admitted to an Israeli medical center with their first known seizure. A quarter of them went on to develop dementia — with a mean time to the diagnosis of eight and a half years. Another study of nearly 300,000 U.S. veterans over the age of 55 found that seizures were associated with twice the risk for developing dementia between one and nine years later.

For now, the question remains whether seizures or low-level hyperactivity are a result of Alzheimer’s, an accelerator, an early warning sign, a risk factor, a trigger, or some complex combination.

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Read full, original post: Role of seizures in Alzheimer’s disease is gaining overdue attention

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