Incidence of Epilepsy and Unprovoked Seizures in Rochester, Minnesota: 1935–1984


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Summary: The incidence of epilepsy and of all unprovoked seizures was determined for residents of Rochester, Minnesota U.S.A. from 1935 through 1984. Ageadjusted incidence of epilepsy was 44 per 100,000 personyears. Incidence in males was significantly higher than in females and was high in the first year of life but highest in persons aged ≥75years. Sixty percent of new cases had epilepsy manifested by partial seizures, and two thirds had no clearly identified antecedent. Cerebrovascular disease was the most commonly identified antecedent, accounting for 11% of cases. Neurologic deficits from birth, mental retardation and/or cerebral palsy, observed in 8% of cases, was the next most frequently identified preexisting condition. The cumulative incidence of epilepsy through age 74 years was 3.1%. The age-adjusted incidence of all unprovoked seizures was 61 per 100,000 person-years. Age-and gender-specific incidence trends were similar to those of epilepsy, but a higher proportion of cases was of unknown etiology and was characterized by generalized onset seizures. The cumulative incidence of all unprovoked seizures was 4.1% through age 74 years. With time, the incidence of epilepsy and of unprovoked seizures decreased in children and increased in the elderly.