Racial differences in adult-onset MRI-negative temporal lobe epilepsy

Academic Article


  • Objective: We recently detected a significant racial difference in our population with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) seizure monitoring unit. We found that Black patients were more likely than their White counterparts to carry a TLE diagnosis. Using this same patient population, we focus on the patients with TLE to better describe the relationship between race and epidemiology in this population. Methods: We analyzed the data from patients diagnosed with TLE admitted to the UAB seizure monitoring unit between January 2000 and December 2011. For patients with a video electroencephalography (EEG) confirmed diagnosis of TLE (n = 385), basic demographic information including race and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings were collected. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression were used to explore the relationship between MRI findings, demographic data, and race. Results: For Black patients with TLE, we found that they were more likely to be female (odds ratio [OR] = 1.91, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14–3.19), have seizure onset in adulthood (OR = 2.39, 95% CI: 1.43–3.19), and have normal MRIs (OR = 1.69, 95% CI: 1.04–2.77) compared to White counterparts with TLE after adjusting for covariates. Conclusions: These data suggest that Black race (compared to White) is associated with higher expression of adult-onset MRI-negative TLE, an important subtype of epilepsy with unique implications for evaluation, treatment, and prognosis. If validated in other cohorts, the findings may explain the lower reported rates of epilepsy surgery utilization among Blacks. The racial differences in surgical utilization could be due to a greater prevalence of an epilepsy that is less amenable to surgical resection rather than to cultural differences or access to care.
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    Author List

  • Allen SE; Limdi NA; Westrick AC; Ver Hoef LW; Szaflarski JP; Kuzniecky RI; Knowlton RC
  • Volume

  • 100