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The occurrence and characteristics of auras in a large epilepsy cohort

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Nakken KO, Solaas MH, Kjeldsen MJ, Friis ML, Pellock JM, Corey LA. The occurrence and characteristics of auras in a large epilepsy cohort.

Acta Neurol Scand 2009: 119: 88–93.

© 2008 The Authors Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Munksgaard. Objectives – 

Despite several studies, estimates of the frequency with which auras occur in conjunction with epilepsy continue to be imprecise. The aim of this study was to assess the occurrence and characteristics of auras in a large population-based epilepsy cohort. Materials and methods – 

Subjects with verified epilepsy were recruited from population-based twin registries in the USA, Denmark and Norway. Using a structured interview in which a list of auras was provided, subjects were asked about the warning symptoms preceding their epileptic attacks. Results – 

31% of the total sample (n = 1897) and 39% of those with active epilepsy (n = 765) had experienced an aura. Six percent reported more than one type. Non-specified auras were most frequently reported (35%), followed by somatosensory (11%) and vertiginous (11%). While the majority of those reporting auras (59%) had focal epilepsies, auras of a mostly non-specific nature were experienced by 13% of those with generalized epilepsies. Conclusion – 

Auras serve an important purpose in that they may prevent seizure-related injuries and could provide an indication as to where the seizures originate. The occurrence of auras often is underestimated, especially in children and those with learning disabilities.
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Keywords: aura; epilepsy; population; simple partial seizure; twins

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Centre for Epilepsy, Sandvika, Norway 2: Institute of Medical Genetics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway 3: Department of Neurology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark 4: Department of Neurology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA 5: Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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