Study: The risk of seizures is higher post COVID-19, compared to flu

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According to a new study, those with a COVID-19 infection are more likely than those with an influenza infection to experience seizures or epilepsy 6 months post-infection. According to this study, published in the online edition of Neurology on November 16, 2022 by the American Academy of Neurology, children were at a higher risk than adults. Additionally, it was more obvious in those who didn't require hospitalization for COVID-19 infections.



Researchers examined a network of health data for persons with COVID-19 infections for the study. They were matched with individuals who had an influenza diagnosis around the same time and who shared characteristics including age, sex, and other medical issues. None of the subjects had ever received a previous epilepsy or recurrent seizure diagnosis. The following six months were then monitored by the researchers to see if anyone experienced seizures or epilepsy.


Over the following six months, persons with COVID-19 had a 55% higher risk of developing epilepsy or seizures than those with influenza. In those who had COVID-19, the rate of new cases of epilepsy or seizures was 0.94%, compared to 0.60% in those who had influenza.


The inability of the researchers to pinpoint the precise virus variants people had led to a study constraint that might have affected the findings.


Reference:

Maxime Taquet, Orrin Devinsky, J. Helen Cross, Paul J Harrison, Arjune Sen. Incidence of Epilepsy and Seizures Over the First 6 Months After a COVID-19 Diagnosis: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Neurology, 2022; 10.1212/WNL.0000000000201595 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000201595


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