Epilepsy could become easier to pinpoint with blood test

March 17, 2023
Research from Lund University.

Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have discovered higher levels of immune proteins in the blood before and after an epileptic seizure. The possible biomarkers can be identified using a simple blood test. Diagnosing epilepsy is currently resource intensive and distinguishing it from other conditions can be challenging. Better diagnostic methods as soon as the patient seeks medical care after a suspected seizure is therefore an urgent necessity.

Researchers discovered that levels of five inflammation markers – proteins – were elevated acutely in people who had experienced an epileptic seizure.

“We call these markers ‘fingerprints’ since they involve several inflammation-related proteins with different reaction patterns. The patients who had epilepsy showed raised levels of one of the five proteins – IL-6 – even before their seizures, a value that transiently raised even further directly after the seizure,” says Marie Taylor.

Among patients with psychogenic seizures, however, there was no change in the biomarkers. This might mean that a simple blood test on a patient arriving at A&E after a seizure can show whether the immunological response is elevated. If it is not, there is a greater chance that it is a matter of a psychogenic seizure, which provides a first indication of how the patient should be further assessed.

Lund University release