-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Veterans who suffer
emotion-related seizures that are not caused by epilepsy can go
undiagnosed for much longer than civilians with the condition,
according to a new study.
This condition -- known as psychogenic non-epileptic seizure --
is believed to have a psychological origin and is different from
epilepsy, but diagnosis can be difficult because the two types of
seizures are similar in appearance, explained Dr. Martin Salinsky,
of the Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health and Sciences
He and his colleagues reviewed the medical records of 50
veterans and 50 civilians who were diagnosed with psychogenic
non-epileptic seizures. It took an average of five years from the
start of symptoms for veterans to be diagnosed, compared with about
one year for civilians.
In nearly 60 percent of the veterans, the seizures had been
attributed to traumatic brain injury, which can lead to
The study is published in the Sept. 6 issue of
Why accurate diagnosis is delayed among veterans is unclear, but
one reason may be the limited number of epilepsy monitoring units
in VA medical centers, Salinsky suggested.
He said a delay in diagnosis can prolong a patient's disability
and also noted that many of the veterans received epilepsy drugs
before they were finally diagnosed with psychogenic non-epileptic
Epilepsy drugs won't help and may cause serious, unwanted side
effects, Salinsky added in a journal news release.
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