Introduction: Epilepsy has a growing frequency, particularly in the elderly. Several triggers may cause late-onset epilepsy; however, more than 20% of epilepsies, manifesting in the elderly, has an unknown etiology. Although cognition is frequently altered in patients affected by epilepsy, there is a paucity of studies specifically evaluating cognition in patients affected by late-onset epilepsy. The aim of the present study was to assess the cognitive profile of patients affected by late-onset epilepsy with an unknown etiology and followed for 12 months. Methods: Patients affected by diagnosed late-onset epilepsy with unknown etiology were included in this observation. All patients were evaluated at the time of diagnosis (baseline) and at follow-up (12 months later). We distributed patients in subgroups based on seizure type (focal seizures [FS], secondarily generalized seizures [SGS], primarily generalized seizures [GS]) and antiepileptic drug (AED) regimen (mono- vs. polytherapy). Cognition was evaluated through standardized neuropsychological testing. Results: Fifty-eight patients were included in this observation and distributed in three groups: 29 affected by FS, 14 affected by SGS, 15 affected by GS. Forty-five patients were in monotherapy, and 13 in polytherapy. The most frequent treatments were levetiracetam (n = 12), valproic acid (VPA) (n = 9), carbamazepine (n = 9), and oxcarbazepine (n = 7). We documented a significant decrease of Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and memory scores at follow-up in the whole group. Verbal learning decreased exclusively in VPA users. Conclusion: Patients affected by late-onset epilepsy with unknown etiology showed a significant decline of cognition at follow-up, independently from number and efficacy of AEDs received. These results deserve verification in larger longitudinal cohorts.
- Antiepileptic drugs
- Late-onset epilepsy