February 5, 2019

Parasites and Epilepsy: Understanding the Determinants of Epileptogenesis

There is a large body of evidence suggesting parasites could be a major preventable risk factor for epilepsy in low- and middle-income countries. This study reviews potentially important substrates for epileptogenesis in parasitic diseases.

Taenia solium is the most widely known parasite associated with epilepsy, and the risk seems determined mainly by the extent of cortical involvement and the evolution of the primary cortical lesion to gliosis or to a calcified granuloma. For most parasites, however, epileptogenesis is more complex, and other favorable host genetic factors and parasite-specific characteristics may be critical.

In situations where cortical involvement by the parasite is either absent or minimal, parasite-induced epileptogenesis through an autoimmune process seems plausible. Further research to identify important markers of epileptogenesis in parasitic diseases will have huge implications for the development of trials to halt or delay onset of epilepsy.

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