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Epileptic seizure triples risk of stroke in over-60s

Patients aged over 60 who suffer an unexplained epileptic seizure are nearly three times more likely to have a stroke, a large study of GP records has shown.

The researchers said unexplained epileptic seizures in this age group should be viewed in the same way as other conventional risk factors such as smoking.

The study of nearly 10,000 patients from the General Practice Research Database found patients with seizures beginning at or after the age of 60 were 2.89 times more likely to have a subsequent stroke than people with no history of seizures.

Study author Professor Raymond Tallis, a consultant physician at Hope Hospital in Salford, Manchester, said: 'Patients should be screened for vascular risk factors and treated appropriately.'

In the study (The Lancet, April 7), Professor Tallis called for further research to assess the benefit of specific interventions, such as anticoagulant drugs, in this group of patients.

Dr Cathie Sudlow, clinical neurosciences lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, said: 'Whether preventive treatments such as cholesterol-lowering or antihypertensive drugs are

appropriate will depend on patients' absolute risk of all vascular events.'

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