A new study has shown how data concerning patient allergies could make it easier to tell the difference between epilepsy and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES).
Conducted by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco, the research – published in the medical journal Epilepsy & Behavior – sheds light on a new way of identifying cases of PNES, in which seizures are caused by mental or emotional processes rather than a physical origin.
The team sought to investigate whether the number of patient-reported allergies distinguishes between PNES and epilepsy, as excessive allergy-reporting, like PNES, may reflect a trend of physical symptoms being caused by psychological distress.
Looking at 905 cases of confirmed PNES and 5,187 control cases of epilepsy without PNES, it was found that PNES patients averaged more self-reported allergies than those with epilepsy alone.
The presence of each additional allergy increased the strength of the association with PNES, with the result that 42.8 per cent of people reporting 12 allergies or more had PNES, compared to only 11.6 per cent of those with no allergies.
“We conclude that long allergy lists may help identify patients with PNES,” the researchers stated.
Posted by Anne Brown
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