COVID-19 and epilepsy: what do we know?

An update on the risk of seizure and epilepsy in patients COVID-19 – and the risks associated with COVID-19 in patients with epilepsy – was presented at the AES 2020 meeting.

Many factors affect seizure frequency, according to Dr R Edward Hogan of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, USA. These include some factors associated with COVID-19, such as infection, fever, and psychosocial stressors. COVID-19 may exacerbate seizures indirectly through these factors, rather than by direct effects of the virus on the central nervous system (CNS).

The timing of neurological complications supports this theory: the general lack of neurological symptoms early in the course of COVID-19 suggests the absence of direct CNS infection, and late neurological effects may be due to systemic complications related to severe infection.

Dr Hogan summarized the latest data on seizures and COVID-19 as follows: