Epilepsy and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy? Eat more fish! A group hypothesis

Programa de Pós-Graduação em Distúrbios do Desenvolvimento, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Arquivos de neuro-psiquiatria (Impact Factor: 0.84). 09/2009; 67(3B):927-9. DOI: 10.1590/S0004-282X2009000500032
Source: PubMed


Epilepsy is the commonest serious neurological disorder and individuals with epilepsy are at higher risk of death than the general population and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the most important direct epilepsy-related cause of death. Potential pathomechanisms for SUDEP are unknown, but it is very probable that cardiac arrhythmias during and between seizures play a potential role. The ultimate goal of SUDEP research is to develop methods to prevent it and nutritional aspects such as omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may have an interesting role in this scenario. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality and are important for treating or preventing some neurological diseases, including epilepsy. A dietary modification or nutritional supplements increasing the ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids may help to ''save the brain'.

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    ABSTRACT: Epilepsy is one of the most common serious neurological conditions worldwide, and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the main cause of epilepsy-related death. Although the exact pathophysiological causes of SUDEP are still unknown, potential risk factors include young age of epilepsy onset, duration of epilepsy, frequently recurrent seizures, winter temperatures and cardiac abnormalities such as arrhythmias during and between seizures. Unfortunately available pharmacological treatment for epilepsy remains limited in seizure control and consequently in SUDEP control, so alternative treatment should be considered in patients with refractory epilepsy. This article will revisit the possible related causes and preventative actions for SUDEP.
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