Genetic Link between alzheimer’s disease and Epilepsy

Epilepsy linked to increased risk of alzheimer's disease.


Epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures, has recently been found to have a potential connection to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. While both conditions are distinct, emerging research suggests a possible association between Epilepsy and the onset of Alzheimer’s.

This Link has sparked interest among scientists and healthcare professionals, as it could shed light on the underlying mechanisms shared by these two complex disorders. Understanding the relationship between Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease may pave the way for new insights into prevention, early detection, and targeted treatment strategies for these debilitating conditions.

“Our research found that not only are people with Alzheimer’s disease more likely to develop epilepsy, but also that those with focal epilepsy, which accounts for more than half of all cases of epilepsy, were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.” said study author Jiali Pu, Ph.D., of Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China.

Researchers conducted a genome-wide association study on over 111,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s and over 677,000 without the disease. By analyzing gene variation across their genomes, they identified subtle genetic differences associated with Alzheimer’s. Using Mendelian randomization, they investigated the cause-and-effect relationship between these genetic variations and the risk of Epilepsy.

The study revealed that individuals with Alzheimer’s had a 5.3% higher risk of developing generalized Epilepsy, characterized by seizures originating from both sides of the brain. This connection could provide valuable insights into the shared mechanisms of Alzheimer’s and Epilepsy, informing future research and approaches to prove a study involving over 15,000 individuals with Epilepsy and 29,000 without Epilepsy revealed that those with focal Epilepsy and hippocampal sclerosis had a significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The study also found that genes associated with lower levels of the amyloid biomarker, linked to Alzheimer’s, were connected to an increased risk of generalized Epilepsy.

The researchers from American academy of Neurology emphasized the need for seizure screening in Alzheimer’s patients and understanding the impact of seizures on both conditions. However, the study’s limitations include a focus on individuals of European ancestry, potentially limiting the applicability of the findings to diverse populations.

In summary, while evidence suggests a potential link between Alzheimer’s genes and Epilepsy, the exact nature of this relationship and the underlying mechanisms require further investigation. The presence of Alzheimer’s genes may contribute to an increased risk of Epilepsy. Still, additional research is needed to establish a clearer cause-and-effect relationship and identify the specific genetic factors involved.

Funding for the study came from the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation and Zhejiang Province.

Journal Reference:

  1. Yi Fang, Xiaoli Si, Jiali Wang, et al. Alzheimer Disease and Epilepsy: A Mendelian Randomization Study. Neurology. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000207423
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