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January 1989

The Fate of World War II Veterans With Posttraumatic Seizures

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery/Neurosurgery, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque (Dr Walker), and the Department of Psychiatry, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit (Dr Blumer). Dr Blumer is now with the University of Tennessee, Memphis.

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(1):23-26. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520370025013

• Of 244 men who, as the result of a brain wound sustained in World War II, had had one or more convulsive seizures, 101 have died. Except for men who succumbed in the first decade of complications of the wounding —infection, systemic or mental disease, status epilepticus, etc—the cause of death was similar to that of men of similar age in the general population. Of the men whose status is known, 74% have had no unconscious attacks in the past ten years or in the ten years before their death. The absence of seizures is not related to the continued ingestion of anticonvulsant medication. Approximately 25% of the men have had varying degrees of mental deterioration. The death rate of men with posttraumatic epilepsy is higher than that of normal men. Wounds of the right cerebral hemisphere seem to shorten the life span more than similar injuries of the left hemisphere.

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