Risk factors for dementia development, frailty, and mortality in older adults with epilepsy - A population-based analysis
May 5, 2021
Citation: Epilepsy Behav. 2021 May 5; 120 108006 [Epub ahead of print]

OBJECTIVE Although the prevalence of comorbid epilepsy and dementia is expected to increase, the impact is not well understood. Our objectives were to examine risk factors associated with incident dementia and the impact of frailty and dementia on mortality in older adults with epilepsy.
METHODS The CALIBER scientific platform was used. People with incident epilepsy at or after age 65 were identified using Read codes and matched by age, sex, and general practitioner to a cohort without epilepsy (10:1). Baseline cohort characteristics were compared using conditional logistic regression models. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to examine the impact of frailty and dementia on mortality, and to assess risk factors for dementia development.
RESULTS One thousand forty eight older adults with incident epilepsy were identified. The odds of having dementia at baseline were 7.39 [95% CI 5.21-10.50] times higher in older adults with epilepsy (n = 62, 5.92%) compared to older adults without epilepsy (n = 88, 0.86%). In the final multivariate Cox model (n = 326), age [HR: 1.20, 95% CI 1.09-1.32], Charlson comorbidity index score [HR: 1.26, 95% CI 1.10-1.44], and sleep disturbances [HR: 2.41, 95% CI 1.07-5.43]at baseline epilepsy diagnosis were significantly associated with an increased hazard of dementia development over the follow-up period. In a multivariate Cox model (n = 1047), age [HR: 1.07, 95% CI 1.03-1.11], baseline dementia [HR: 2.66, 95% CI 1.65-4.27]and baseline e-frailty index score [HR: 11.55, 95% CI 2.09-63.84] were significantly associated with a higher hazard of death among those with epilepsy. Female sex [HR: 0.77, 95% CI 0.59-0.99]was associated with a lower hazard of death.
SIGNIFICANCE The odds of having dementia were higher in older adults with incident epilepsy. A higher comorbidity burden acts as a risk factor for dementia, while prevalent dementia and increasing frailty were associated with mortality.