Incidence of epilepsy and unprovoked seizures in Rochester, Minnesota: 1935-1984

Epilepsia. 1993 May-Jun;34(3):453-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1993.tb02586.x.


The incidence of epilepsy and of all unprovoked seizures was determined for residents of Rochester, Minnesota U.S.A. from 1935 through 1984. Age-adjusted incidence of epilepsy was 44 per 100,000 person-years. Incidence in males was significantly higher than in females and was high in the first year of life but highest in persons aged > or = 75 years. Sixty percent of new cases had epilepsy manifested by partial seizures, and two thirds had no clearly identified antecedent. Cerebrovascular disease was the most commonly identified antecedent, accounting for 11% of cases. Neurologic deficits from birth, mental retardation and/or cerebral palsy, observed in 8% of cases, was the next most frequently identified preexisting condition. The cumulative incidence of epilepsy through age 74 years was 3.1%. The age-adjusted incidence of all unprovoked seizures was 61 per 100,000 person-years. Age- and gender-specific incidence trends were similar to those of epilepsy, but a higher proportion of cases was of unknown etiology and was characterized by generalized onset seizures. The cumulative incidence of all unprovoked seizures was 4.1% through age 74 years. With time, the incidence of epilepsy and of unprovoked seizures decreased in children and increased in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsies, Partial / epidemiology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / etiology
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Seizures / epidemiology
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Sex Factors