Bi-directional association between epilepsy and dementia: The Framingham Heart Study

Maria Stefanidou, Alexa S. Beiser, Jayandra Jung Himali, Teng J. Peng, Orrin Devinsky, Sudha Seshadri, Daniel Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


ObjectiveTo assess the risk of incident epilepsy among participants with prevalent dementia and the risk of incident dementia among participants with prevalent epilepsy in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS).MethodsWe analyzed prospectively collected data in the Original and Offspring FHS cohorts. To determine the risk of developing epilepsy among participants with dementia and the risk of developing dementia among participants with epilepsy, we used separate, nested, case-control designs and matched each case to 3 age-, sex-and FHS cohort-matched controls. We used Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, adjusting for sex and age. In secondary analysis, we investigated the role of education level and APOE ϵ4 allele status in modifying the association between epilepsy and dementia.ResultsA total of 4,906 participants had information on epilepsy and dementia and dementia follow-up after age 65. Among 660 participants with dementia and 1,980 dementia-free controls, there were 58 incident epilepsy cases during follow-up. Analysis comparing epilepsy risk among dementia cases vs controls yielded a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.82 (95% confidence interval 1.05-3.16, p = 0.034). Among 43 participants with epilepsy and 129 epilepsy-free controls, there were 51 incident dementia cases. Analysis comparing dementia risk among epilepsy cases vs controls yielded a HR of 1.99 (1.11-3.57, p = 0.021). In this group, among participants with any post-high school education, prevalent epilepsy was associated with a nearly 5-fold risk for developing dementia (HR 4.67 [1.82-12.01], p = 0.001) compared to controls of the same educational attainment.ConclusionsThere is a bi-directional association between epilepsy and dementia. with either condition carrying a nearly 2-fold risk of developing the other when compared to controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E3241-E3247
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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