“This is one of the potential concerns—that if people don’t ask about these smaller seizures, which many, even neurologists, don’t, they can misdiagnose people…if they have a convulsion, it may be their hundredth seizure instead of their first.”

Although neurologists and epileptologists have learned massive amounts about treating epilepsy in the last 2 decades, so much remains left to understand. Compounding that is the fact that treating epilepsy is complex and complicated. Many patients are refractory, and even the most efficacious antiepileptic drugs can be ineffective.

A less-discussed challenge, however, is that of delayed diagnosis of epilepsy. As Jacqueline French, MD, pointed out in a conversation with NeurologyLive® at the 2019 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this can cause irreparable damage to patients. Some, she said, may have been experiencing hundreds of subtle, otherwise undetectable seizures for quite some time prior to getting a proper diagnosis.

The director of Translational Research and Epilepsy Clinical Trials at NYU Langone spoke about the nuance involved in diagnosing epilepsy and the misconceptions about how seizures present in the majority of patients.

For more coverage of AAN 2019, click here.