December 14, 2023

Seizures Associated with Earlier Decline to Mild Cognitive Impairment in Cognitively Healthy Adults

Article published by Healio

In cognitively healthy adults, the presence of seizures predicted earlier change from normal cognition to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) but was not associated with change from MCI to dementia, according to a preliminary report of research shared at the 2023 American Epilepsy Society meeting in Orlando, FL. Comorbid seizures are common in those with dementia and are associated with accelerated cognitive decline. Ifrah Zawar, MD, lead study author and Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Virginia and colleagues sought to examine the impact of seizures independent of cardiovascular risk factors on cognitive decline, as well as their impact on cognitively healthy individuals, patients with MCI and on patients with MCI progressing to dementia. Their multicenter, longitudinal study analyzed data from 44,713 individuals recruited prospectively from 39 Alzheimer’s disease centers in the United States. According to the results, seizures predicted earlier conversion time from normal cognition to MCI but were not associated with MCI to dementia conversion. “While epilepsy itself is associated with [MCI] and dementia, this risk is substantially magnified in those who also have high blood pressure, diabetes, or other cardiovascular risk factors,” Zawar said in a related release. Early screening and targeted interventions towards modifiable cardiovascular risk factors may also help delay the onset of dementia.