1525-5050 2003 Feb;4(1):6-12
Poser CM, Brinar VV.
Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, 02215-5400, Boston, MA, USA
A review of 29 published clinical series of adult patients who had epileptic seizures and multiple sclerosis (MS) yielded a prevalence of 2.3%, about three to six times that in the general adult population.
The probable anatomic basis for the seizures is areas of inflammation, edema, and/or demyelination in the cerebral cortex and the juxtacortical white matter generated by a mechanism that is not completely understood; the fact that these plaques are very common suggests that other factors must operate in view of the rarity of seizures in MS.
Seizures have been observed before and presumably marking the clinical onset of the disease, and during acute bouts.
In some instances convulsions appear to be the only manifestations of an attack of MS, but there is no general acceptance of seizures as the first and only symptoms of the disease.
The coincidental occurrence of both diseases, the nonspecific triggering effect of MS on latent epilepsy, and actual causation by MS are all possible explanations, but the last named is, in our opinion, extremely unusual.