People with epilepsy are twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than others, according to a study from South Korea.

According to the research, 21 in 10,000 people with epilepsy will develop Parkinson’s. This figure was 11 in 10,000 for people without epilepsy.

The researchers from Jeonbuk National University Medical School and Hospital studied 10,510 patients from across South Korea.

However, the researchers said despite the statistics, the relationship between the two conditions was not understood. Having epilepsy does not mean you will definitely develop Parkinson’s.

There were 5,255 patients with epilepsy and 5,255 without. According to the study, the epilepsy group had a 2.19 times higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than the control group.

The research was published in Journal of the Neurological Sciences on the 24 January, 2024.

In the paper, the researchers said: “This study indicates an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in patients with epilepsy. However, further research is needed to prove an exact causal relationship between these two brain disorders.”

The study followed up with patients later on and found that 85 of the 5,255 with epilepsy went on to develop Parkinson’s. Meanwhile, 57 of the patients without epilepsy were diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

In March 2022, a study of GP practices in East London found epilepsy was a risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease. That study found that people with epilepsy were 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s than the general population. It was published in JAMA Neurology.

 

Source: epilepsy.org.uk, Grace Wood

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