Cognition and dementia in older patients with epilepsy

By:  Lance Fogan, M.D.

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Lance Fogan, M.D. is Clinical Professor of Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His hard-hitting emotional family medical drama, “DINGS, is told from a mother’s point of view. “DINGS” is his first novel. Aside from acclamation on internet bookstore sites, U.S. Report of Books, and the Hollywood Book Review, DINGS has been advertised in recent New York Times Book Reviews, the Los Angeles Times Calendar section and Publishers Weekly. DINGS teaches epilepsy and is now available in eBook, audiobook, soft and hard cover editions.

Today’s health care practices have resulted in a substantial rise in the number of older adults with epilepsy. In America we have one percent of our population, three million, suffering with epilepsy. In the rest of the developed world, the elderly over 65 also have the highest incidence of epilepsy. It no longer is the pediatric population that develops the most cases of epilepsy (See my Blog # 15, Epilepsy is most common in the Elderly, September 16, 2018 at

Older people are more likely to have cognitive decline with epilepsy. There seems to be a relationship between epilepsy and dementia. Epidemiological findings reveal that people with late-onset epilepsy and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease share common risk factors. Medical science isn’t conclusively settled on the cause of Alzheimer’s nor who will develop it but it seems in some people to be mediated by underlying vascular changes in the aging brain. Contributing to their development of epilepsy is their survival after brain trauma, strokes and various diseases.1

The authors Sen, Capelli,, suggest that there is considerable intersection between epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease raising the possibility that better understanding of shared mechanisms in these conditions might help to ameliorate not just seizures, but also epileptogenesis and cognitive dysfunction.


  1. A. Sen, V. Capelli, M. Husain. Cognition and dementia in older patients with epilepsy Brain, Volume 141, Issue 6, June 2018, Pages 1592–1608,

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