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Seizure. 2004 Mar;13(2):104-7.

Is omega-3 fatty acid deficiency a factor contributing to refractory seizures and SUDEP? A hypothesis.

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  • 1The National Society for Epilepsy, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks SL9 ORJ, UK.


Epilepsy, the commonest serious neurological condition, is associated with an increased risk in premature deaths, including an estimated 500 sudden unexpected deaths (SUDEP) per year in the UK. In some patients seizures are associated with cardiac arrhythmias, which are thought to be a major factor in SUDEP. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce cardiac arrhythmias in animal studies and to reduce sudden cardiac deaths, thought to be due to cardiac arrhythmias, in both healthy subjects and in those who have had one myocardial infarction. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids in animal studies and in a small clinical observation study have shown anti-seizure effects. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with refractory seizures may reduce seizures and seizure associated cardiac arrhythmias and hence SUDEP.

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