December 3, 2019

Study Finds Older People with Epilepsy Have Less Clinically Significant Depression and Better Quality of Life Than Younger People with Epilepsy

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Aim: There are limited data on psychological outcomes in older people with epilepsy (PWE). This analysis, from a large pooled dataset of clinical studies from the Managing Epilepsy Well (MEW) Network, examined clinical variables including depressive symptom severity, quality of life and epilepsy self-management competency among older (age 55+) vs younger (<age 55) PWE. The researchers were particularly interested in differences between older vs younger individuals with clinically significant depression.

Methods: Analyses used baseline data from 9 MEW Network studies and examined demographic and clinical variables. Older vs younger individuals were compared and then we assessed groups with clinically significant depression vs those without clinically significant depression using the PHQ-9 and QOLIE-10 as a measure of quality of life.

Results: The sample included 935 individuals. Compared to younger adults (n = 774), the older group (n = 161) had a better quality of life (p = 0.041) and more individuals without clinically significant depression (p = 0.038). There was a trend for slightly lower depression severity scores (PHQ-9 total) (p = 0.07) in the older group and a trend for fewer seizures (p = 0.055) in older adults relative to younger adults.

Conclusion: Compared to younger people with epilepsy, older people with epilepsy have less clinically significant depression and better quality of life. Future research needs to identify possible mechanisms underlying these differences.

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