Comorbidity Patterns Among Brain Disorders: Imad Najm, MD


The director of the epilepsy center at Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute spoke on one of the studies he coauthored that were presented at AES 2021. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

“There are consequences…of success in keeping the heart going, keeping multiple organs going, and decreasing death and morbidity [rates] from cardiovascular diseases, from lung diseases, from kidney problems—and all of a sudden, we're starting to see things that we'd never predicted before, which is the failure of the brain.”

Imad Najm, MD, sat down with NeurologyLive® to discuss 1 of the many studies he coauthored that were presented at the 2021 American Epilepsy Society (AES) Annual Meeting, December 3-7, in Chicago, Illinois and virtually. This particular study, entitled, “Analysis of age- and sex-specific comorbidity patterns among brain disorders,” was performed to assess the cooccurrence of brain disorders as they relate to age and sex in the Cleveland Clinic healthcare system. 

Investigators performed a total of 2280 tests, identifying 327 significantly associated brain disorder pairs with an odds ratio greater than 4. It was also determined that each brain disorder had 5 significant comorbidities on average across all demographic groups. Epilepsy, specifically, was associated with autism spectrum disorder in children and adults, but in elderly patients, it was associated with Alzheimer disease and stroke. The study is aimed at creating a resource for both age- and sex-specific clinical relationships that exist between brain disorders. Najm noted his excitement about this line of study, as well as his hope for more defined answers than what were presented at this year’s AES meeting. 

Najm, who is the director of Cleveland Clinic’s Epilepsy Center at the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute, commented on experts’ recent success in decreasing mortality relating to cardiovascular and lung diseases. In turn, Najm pointed to an issue that was not predicted by experts—the failure of the brain and a peak in epilepsy occurrence in adults over the age of 65 years.

For more coverage of AES 2021, click here.

López-Rivera J, Leu C, Najm I, Lal D. Analysis of age- and sex-specific comorbidity patterns among brain disorders. Presented at AES 2021; December 3-7, 2021; Chicago, IL and Virtual. Abstract 2.188 

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