Cerebellar Degeneration in Epilepsy: A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 8;18(2):473. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18020473.


Introduction: Cerebellar degeneration has been associated in patients with epilepsy, though the exact pathogenic mechanisms are not understood. The aim of this systematic review was to identify the prevalence of cerebellar degeneration in patients with epilepsy and identify any pathogenic mechanisms.

Methodology: A systematic computer-based literature search was conducted using the PubMed database. Data extracted included prevalence, clinical, neuroradiological, and neuropathological characteristics of patients with epilepsy and cerebellar degeneration.

Results: We identified three consistent predictors of cerebellar degeneration in the context of epilepsy in our review: temporal lobe epilepsy, poor seizure control, and phenytoin as the treatment modality. Whole brain and hippocampal atrophy were also identified in patients with epilepsy.

Conclusions: Cerebellar degeneration is prevalent in patients with epilepsy. Further prospective studies are required to confirm if the predictors identified in this review are indeed linked to cerebellar degeneration and to establish the pathogenic mechanisms that result in cerebellar insult.

Keywords: ataxia; cerebellar degeneration; epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy
  • Brain
  • Epilepsy* / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Prospective Studies