Could so-called “silent” seizures in the hippocampus—the part of the brain that retains memories—be causing Alzheimer’s disease? A study that was published in Nature Medicine this month says yes, these types of seizures may be greatly contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s.
For this study, researchers looked at two women who were both in their 60s and both had symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Neither woman had a history of seizures. Brain images and tests on cerebrospinal fluid were performed on the women. Regular seizure testing resulted in no visible seizures in either woman.
So researchers looked more closely at the hippocampus, since it is a known common source of seizures in epileptic people. Through non-invasive electrode testing, the study found that both women had seizure-like activity in their hippocampus that could not be detected using normal electroencephalogram (EES) seizure testing. None of these small seizures seemed to have any noticeable symptoms.
Through the use of anti-seizure drugs, one of the women was able to stop having “silent” seizures altogether. In the following year, she showed less symptoms of Alzheimer’s and only had one instance of confusion which happened when she missed a dose of her seizure medication. Researchers are hopeful that treating these types of seizures could help to slow down the development of Alzheimer’s in patients who have similar seizure disorders.