Alzheimer’s Onset and Progression May Be Linked to Subclinical Epileptic Activity

Alzheimer’s Onset and Progression May Be Linked to Subclinical Epileptic Activity
Epileptic activity appear to be more frequent in patients with Alzheimer’s disease than in healthy individuals and may be linked to disease progression, according to a recent study. These findings, previously seen in animals, suggest that increased neuronal excitability, a feature of epilepsy, may also contribute to the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Of the study’s patients, as many as 42.4 percent presented subclinical epileptiform spikes, especially during sleep. The study, “Incidence And Impact Of Subclinical Epileptiform Activity In Alzheimer's Disease,” was published in the journal Annals of Neurology. The exchange of electrical signals in the brain is the basis of neuronal communication and activity. But in epileptic seizures, these signals are propagated in an exaggerated and uncontrolled way, impairing proper brain function. It has been suggested that seizures are more frequent in Alzheimer's patients, but the incidence and consequences of epileptiform activity in Alzheimer's were still unclear. The study included 33 patients with a mean age of 62 who had early Alzheimer’s disease but no history of epileptic seizures, and 19 age-matched healthy individuals, or controls. Researchers used a highly sensitive and noninvasive method composed of overnight long-term video-electroencephalography (EEG) and a one-hour resting magnetoencephalography exam with simultaneous EEG to analyze brain rhythms and detect subclinical seizure activity. Patients were also evaluated with clinical and cognitive measures during a follow-up period of more than three years.
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