August 1990

Advanced Alzheimer's Disease Is a Risk Factor for Late-Onset Seizures

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery (Neurology) (Drs Morris and Coben) and Pathology (Neuropathology) (Dr Morris) and the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (Drs Romanelli, Morris, Ashkin, and Coben), Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo. Dr Romanelli is now with the Department of Psychiatry, Stony Brook (NY) University Hospital, and Dr Ashkin is with the Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, New York, NY.

Arch Neurol. 1990;47(8):847-850. doi:10.1001/archneur.1990.00530080029006

• To determine the role of Alzheimer's disease as a causative factor for lateonset epilepsy, 44 subjects with mild senile dementia of the Alzheimer type and 58 healthy control subjects were examined over a 90-month period for the development of focal or generalized seizure activity (excluding myoclonus). At entry, all subjects were free of prior seizures and other neurologic, medical, and psychiatric disorders with the potential to impair cognition. Although no control subject developed seizures during the study period, 7 subjects with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type had at least one documented seizure. All 7 subjects had progressed to the severe stage of dementia by the time of the first seizure. Seizures were generalized tonic-clonic in type and were unassociated with clinical or (in 3 subjects) neuropathologic evidence for epileptogenic factors other than Alzheimer's disease. We conclude that advanced Alzheimer's disease alone may be an important risk factor for new-onset seizures in older adults.