Seizures in the elderly: Impact on mental status, mood, and sleep

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42 Scopus citations


Comorbidities of epilepsy have not been well explored in the elderly. Herein, we examined mental status, mood, and sleep in elderly patients with epilepsy, compared with age- and gender-matched community controls without epilepsy from the Einstein Aging Study. Testing included a mental status test, the Blessed Information Memory and Concentration (BIMC) test; Prime-MD Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) Depression and Anxiety Modules; and Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Scale. Persons with epilepsy (n = 31) had higher mean BIMC scores than controls (n = 31, BIMC 6.3 vs.1.2, P < 0.0001). Mean PHQ Depression scores were higher for cases than controls, indicating more depressive symptoms (4.2 vs 0.8, P = 0.006); six cases (18%) and no controls met screening criteria for depression. Mean PHQ Anxiety scores were also higher for cases than controls (3.7 vs 0.0, P = 0.001). Cases had poorer sleep scores in the categories of somnolence (P = 0.009) and shortness of breath/headache (P = 0.021). Thus, comorbidities of epilepsy in this elderly population included decreased mental status, a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety, and poorer sleep health when compared with agemates without epilepsy. Mental status impairment was not related to antiepileptic medication or mood disturbance. Further investigation will explore these associations prospectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-544
Number of pages5
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Cognitive decline
  • Depression
  • Elderly
  • Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy comorbidity
  • Sleep disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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