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Objective: To define the prevalence of psychiatric symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients at the time of their first seizure presentation to a neurologist. Methods: Our pilot study uses a cohort approach with multimodal data (clinical, social, structural [3T magnetic resonance imaging], and functional [electroencephalogram]). We screened 105 patients referred to the Halifax First Seizure Clinic between 2014 and 2016 and 51 controls. All participants completed two screening questionnaires: Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory for Epilepsy and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item. After applying the exclusion criteria, the study population consisted of 57 patients with unprovoked first seizure and 31 controls. The prevalence of anxiety and depression was based on cutoff scores of >15 and >14 respectively. Results: Unprovoked first seizure patients showed higher prevalence of depression (33%) compared with control (6%) with an odds ratio (OR) of 2.75 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72-10.5). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of anxiety between control subjects (9.7%) and unprovoked first seizure patients (23%). Subcategory analysis conducted after diagnosis confirmation revealed significantly increased OR of depression in patients diagnosed with new-onset epilepsy (OR, 11.6; 95% CI, 2.1-64.0) and newly diagnosed epilepsy (OR, 20.0; 95% CI,2.2-181), but not first seizure only patients (OR, 2.2; 95% CI,0.28-17.6) compared with control. Conclusions: Our study supports a bidirectional relationship between the first seizure and depression. Prevalence rate of depression increased with duration of undiagnosed epilepsy at the time of first clinical assessment.
Epilepsy is a common medical condition for which physicians perform driver fitness assessments. The Canadian Medical association (CMA) and the Canadian Council of Motor transportation administrators (CCMTA) publish documents to guide Canadian physicians’ driver fitness assessments.
We aimed to measure the consistency of driver fitness counseling among epileptologists in Canada, and to determine whether inconsistencies between national guidelines are associated with greater variability in counseling instructions.
We surveyed 35 epileptologists in Canada (response rate 71%) using a questionnaire that explored physicians’ philosophies about driver fitness assessments and counseling practices of seizure patients in common clinical scenarios. Of the nine scenarios, CCMTA and CMA recommendations were concordant for only two. Cumulative agreement for all scenarios was calculated using Kappa statistic. Agreement for concordant (two) vs. discordant (seven) scenarios were split at the median and analyzed using the Wilcoxon signed rank sum test.
Overall the agreement between respondents for the clinical scenarios was not acceptable (Kappa=0.28). For the two scenarios where CMa and CCMta guidelines were concordant, specialists had high levels of agreement with recommendations (89% each). A majority of specialists disagreed with CMa recommendations in three of seven discordant scenarios. The lack of consistency in respondents’ agreement attained statistical significance (p<0.001).
Canadian epileptologists have variable counseling practices about driving, and this may be attributable to inconsistencies between CMa and CCMta medical fitness guidelines. This study highlights the need to harmonize driving recommendations in order to prevent physician and patient confusion about driving fitness in Canada.
Seizures while driving are a well known occurrence in established epilepsy and have significant impact on driving privileges. There is no data available on patients who experience their first (diagnosed) seizure while driving (FSWD).
Out of 311 patients presenting to the Halifax First Seizure Clinic between 2008 and 2011, 158 patients met the criteria of a first seizure (FS) or drug-naïve, newly diagnosed epilepsy (NDE). A retrospective chart review was conducted. FSWD was evaluated for 1) prevalence, 2) clinical presentation, 3) coping strategies, and 4) length of time driving before seizure occurrence.
The prevalence of FSWD was 8.2%. All 13 patients experienced impaired consciousness. Eleven patients had generalized tonic-clonic seizures, one starting with a déjà-vu evolving to visual aura and a complex partial seizure; three directly from visual auras. Two patients had complex partial seizures, one starting with an autonomic seizure. In response to their seizure, patients reported they were i) able to actively stop the car (n=4, three had visual auras), ii) not able to stop the car resulting in accident (n=7), or iii) passenger was able to pull the car over (n=2). One accident was fatal to the other party. Twelve out of 13 patients had been driving for less than one hour.
FSWD is frequent and possibly underrecognized. FSWD often lead to accidents, which occur less if preceded by simple partial seizures. Pathophysiological mechanisms remain uncertain; it is still speculative if complex visuo-motor tasks required while driving play a role in this scenario.
Dementia and seizures occur in a significant proportion of patients with increasing prevalence in the elderly. This chapter reviews the epidemiology of dementia and the epidemiology of seizures in the elderly and then looks for the reported coincidence of dementia and seizures. The prevalence of epilepsy shows a similar trend; prevalence increases from approximately 55 years of age and is more than twice that of the general population by 85 years of age or more. Seizures can present in an unusual fashion, such as transient epileptic amnesia. Rarely, seizures can occur at the time of diagnosis in patients with probable Alzheimer's disease. Routine investigations should also include an electrocardiogram, complete routine blood work including electrolytes, liver enzymes, kidney function, and blood cell count. Current animal work is encouraging in the further investigation of the overlap between hyperexcitability, cognitive decline, and established dementia.
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