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Risk factors for epilepsy in Nigerians – a cross-sectional case–control study

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Abstract

Objective

The identification of risk factors that predispose to development of epilepsy is crucial to its primary prevention. This study evaluated the risks conferred by some predisposing factors.

Patients and methods

This cross-sectional analytical study assessed the relative contributions of various risk factors to development of epilepsy in 244 adult Nigerians with epilepsy compared with equal number of age- and sex-matched controls. Odds ratio and Fisher exact test were used to express significant association.

Results

Birth asphyxia (OR 6.87), recurrent childhood febrile convulsions (OR 5.74), central nervous system (CNS) infections (OR 3.38), head trauma (OR 1.82), rural dwelling without health care access (OR 2.44), and history of epilepsy in first-degree relatives (OR 3.44) were identified as significant risk factors for epilepsy.

Conclusions

Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment for febrile diseases and CNS infections, use of head helmets and car seat belts would contribute to reduced incidence.

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