Rheumatoid Arthritis in women increases risk of epilepsy in their children

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Rheumatoid Arthritis in women increases risk of epilepsy in their children

Some children born to mothers with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at increased risk of developing epilepsy, a new study suggests. According to as a recent study by Rom LA, et al. children born to mothers with RA were 26% more likely to develop epilepsy than children born to mothers without RA. Moreover, this association does not affect children with their fathers with RA.

According to Ane Lilleore Rom, study author, Ph.D., of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark "These results suggested that changes in the environment for the fetus may play a role in the development of epilepsy. We don't know yet how this may work, but it could involve the production of maternal antibodies that could affect the unborn child".

The data of 2 million children born in Denmark between 1977 and 2008, who had been followed afterward for an average of 16 years were analyzed. Of these 2 million records,  31,491 children eventually developed epilepsy (1.6%). Of those 31,491 children, 13,556 (0.7%) had mothers with clinical and what was considered “pre-clinical” RA – mothers diagnosed with RA after their babies were born.

Further, researchers compared the records of children born to mothers with clinical RA (who had RA at the time of their birth) with those of children whose mothers had only pre-clinical RA. Findings showed that children whose mothers already had clinical RA at the time of birth were found to be up to 90% more likely to develop epilepsy, while children with mothers who had only pre-clinical RA were found to be 26% more likely to develop the disease. Thus,  2% of children born to mothers with clinical RA eventually developed epilepsy, while children born to mothers with preclinical RA the number was 3%.

Since mothers with preclinical RA also imposed the increased risk of epilepsy to their children, the findings point towards an important role of the disease itself rather than an effect of treatments for RA. However, the specific influence of RA treatments needs a further investigation. It was confirmed that the increased risk of epilepsy for people who have autoimmune diseases that directly involve the brain, such as multiple sclerosis. In this case, RA also was found to increase the risk of epilepsy, even though RA does not directly affect the brain. Moreover, offsprings of mothers with rheumatoid arthritis seem to have an increased risk of developing epilepsy.

Source:

EurekAlert

Link to the source:

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-11/aaon-slm111416.php

Original title of the article:

Study links mothers with rheumatoid arthritis and kids with epilepsy

Authors:

Ane Lilleore Rom

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