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Clues To Identify Psychological Seizures

with late onset nonepileptic seizures were more likely to be male (42 percent compared to 23 percent) and have severe health problems (42 percent and eight percent). The late onset group was more likely to report health-related traumatic experiences (47 percent compared to four percent) and less likely to report a history of sexual abuse (four percent and 32 percent).

“Our findings suggest that the development of physical ill health, especially when it has been frightening to the patient, may be an important triggering factor for nonepileptic seizures in a subset of patients,” said study author Rod Duncan, PhD, of the West of Scotland Regional Epilepsy Service in Glasgow.

The third study examined 18 people seen in the emergency room for continuous seizures, or status epilepticus, that did not respond to epilepsy medication. Compared to those with epileptic seizures, those with nonepileptic seizures were more likely to be less than 30 years old, were more likely to have a port system implanted for administration of IV drugs and had lower blood levels of the enzyme creatine kinase, which normally rise after epileptic seizures.

“These characteristics can help guide the emergency doctor to the correct diagnosis, which is so critical in these cases, because the drugs can result in severe complications if it is in fact not epilepsy,” said study author and neurologist Martin Holtkamp, MD, of Charité – University Medicine Berlin in Germany. “Yet an immediate diagnosis is required, even though there is often no time to access EEG recordings and the patient’s detailed history.”

Benbadis said, “The ‘red flags’ raised by these studies make a major contribution in helping raise awareness about making the diagnosis of psychological nonepileptic seizures when dealing with seizures that do not respond to medications.”

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 19,000 neurologists and neuroscience p
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