Incident epilepsy in the cognitively normal geriatric population, irrespective of seizure control, impairs quality of life

Saniya Pervin, Gregory A. Jicha, Meriem Bensalem-Owen, Sally V. Mathias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose of the research: The geriatric population is the fastest-growing population in the United States and the impact of incident epilepsy on the cognitively intact geriatric population is not well-studied. Understanding how epilepsy affects the elderly is important to improve the quality of treatment and care for our aging population. This study sought to address the impact of incident epilepsy on the perceived Quality of Life (QOL) in cognitively intact elderly using the SF-36 questionnaire. Methods: Nine hundred and twenty-seven participants were assessed from a community-based cohort. Based on a history of subsequent development of new-onset seizures, participants were divided into two groups, an incident seizure group that developed new-onset seizures after 65 years of age and the control group without incident seizures. Of this, six hundred eleven were analyzed with the SF-36 questionnaire after excluding for cognitive decline and inconsistent medical data. Principal results: Statistically significant differences were found in 9 items on SF-36, involving perception of increased physical disability (p < 0.01; t-test), frailty (p < 0.04; t-test), emotional health limitations (p < 0.03; t-test), anxiety and sadness (p < 0.04; t-test), problems interfering with social activities (p < 0.0001; t-test). No between-group differences were found for demographic variables including age, education, gender, or minority status. Among the 611 subjects who remained cognitively normal across all longitudinal visits, 12 reported a history of new-onset seizures. Ten of these 12 subjects were seizure free as a result of treatment, with only 2 experiencing recent seizures. The incidence of seizures in our population was 300 per 100,000 person years. Major conclusions: This study identified the elderly population with incident epilepsy as a subgroup with an unmet health need, and healthcare professionals should address the potential impact of seizures with their geriatric patients to ensure comprehensive care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108457
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Elderly
  • Geriatric epilepsy
  • Incident epilepsy
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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