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WCN 2021 | Cognitive decline risk stratification in people with late-onset epilepsy of unknown etiology

Michele Romoli, MD, IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Bologna, Italy, discusses the link between epilepsy and cognitive decline. Around 20% of patients with late-onset epilepsy (LOE) exhibit no risk factors for epilepsy; this is known as LOE of unknown etiology. Dr Romoli reports findings from a study investigating the potential application of electroencephalography (EEG) network small-world (SW) properties in predicting cognitive decline among patients with LOE of unknown etiology. Lumbar puncture was used to assess the potential presence of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, brain imaging and neuropsychological assessment were performed at the time of epilepsy diagnosis. After more than 4 years of follow-up, 10 patients developed dementia. These longitudinal results highlight a possible link between LOE of unknown etiology, cognitive decline, and dementia. More research is required to truly understand the implications of this data. This interview took place during the XXV World Congress of Neurology (WCN).