It is a finding that neurologists believe will help in the management of epilepsy.
Scientists of Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York carried out a study that showed that some patients could accurately predict when a seizure was bound to occur. The findings were published in Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology by lead author Sheryl Haut.
Haut's team studied 71 adult patients with epilepsy who had at least one seizure in the last 12 months. The subjects kept daily seizure diaries and were asked to rate the likelihood that a seizure would occur in the next 24 hours as extremely likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, and extremely unlikely.
The results showed that when patients predicted a seizure they were more than twice likely to experience one than when they did not, though they predicted only 32 percent of the seizures.
Says Haut, "We were surprised by the findings. Center in We have seen patients in the clinic who state that they can predict when a seizure will occur."
Twelve patients were better than the others at predicting seizures. When these patients, who were younger and had frequent attacks, predicted a seizure, the odds of one actually occurring increased more than three-fold. Even this group, however, predicted just 37 percent of seizures.
Though there have been previous reports of patients stating they are able to predict a seizure, this is the first study of its kind.
The reason why this study matters is because of the multi-fold benefits to the patients.
This includes a sense of control and peace of mind, being able for the patients to plan their daily activities, to take medication that may reduce the severity of the attack and also to pave the way for preemptive therapy, which is currently not being used.
Haut believes that if the patients and doctors can work on the symptoms that make the patient feel a seizure is imminent; there could be ways of even increasing the accuracy of the prediction.