Having Alzheimer’s disease may increase the risk of getting other potentially disabling health conditions, including seizures, according to research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010.
“Alzheimer’s disease is a global health crisis with devastating effects on individuals, families and national healthcare systems,” said William Thies, Ph.D., chief medical and scientific officer at the Alzheimer’s Association. “If, in fact, Alzheimer’s also increases risk of other disabling conditions, then its impact may be more devastating than we’ve envisioned as the global population ages and as more countries become westernized in their habits and lifestyles.”
The number of people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is expected to nearly double every 20 years, to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050, according to the 2009 World Alzheimer Report.
Studies have shown Alzheimer’s to be a risk factor for seizures. H. Michael Arrighi, Ph.D., of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy Research & Development, and Nicole Baker, MPH, of Pfizer, conducted an observational study to estimate the incidence rate of seizures among a large cohort of people with Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s were followed for an average of 2.3 years; non-Alzheimer’s patients were followed for an average of 3.4 years.
Over that period, researchers found that the rate of seizures, per 1,000 people per year, was 9.1 among patients with Alzheimer’s disease, compared with 1.4 for those without Alzheimer’s – an incidence rate that was 6.4 times higher. In addition, they found that the incidence rate of seizures was highest among the youngest Alzheimer’s patients, and that it decreased with age. Incidence among non-Alzheimer’s patients increased slightly with age.
“The increased risk of seizures among patients with Alzheimer’s disease was seen in all age groups, but there was a substantial increase among the youngest patients. It is especially important for these patients and their caregivers to be aware of this risk,” Baker said.
In addition, here at our Kitsap Peninsula Home Instead Office we have CAREGivers that are available to help if you know of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s. If you call our office at 360-782-4663, we’d be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.