Aim: Hypoglycaemic seizures are common in children with diabetes and electroencephalogram abnormalities are well recognised in this patient group. Elevated antibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase, a major auto-antigen in Type 1 diabetes, are also implicated in a number of neurological disorders. Despite these associations, the question of whether children with diabetes are more prone to epilepsy, possibly as a result of lowered seizure threshold, has not been previously studied. We aimed to determine the prevalence and type of epilepsy in a large paediatric diabetes clinic.
Methods: An audit by chart review was carried out at the Diabetes Clinic at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. Clinical, demographical, biochemical, EEG and neuro-imaging data were recorded.
Results: Of 1384 children and adolescents aged 0-19 years with Type 1 diabetes, we identified 12 with active epilepsy (prevalence of 8.7/1000), the majority of whom had idiopathic generalised epilepsy and benign focal epilepsy of childhood. These findings are similar to those in the general population.
Conclusion: Childhood epilepsy is no more frequently encountered in children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes than in the general paediatric population.