Epilepsy affects approximately 1–2% of the general population and there are gender differences in the expression of the disease and the impact on health. Catamenial Epilepsy (CE) is a condition in which seizures, either the frequency or severity of seizures, are increased or occur during a certain phase of the ovarian cycle (OC). CE is seen in almost 40% of women with epilepsy, and it is a very important medical problem. Catamenial seizures are influenced by the cyclical sex steroid hormone changes during OC where estrogen is thought to be proconvulsive, increasing epileptiform discharges and seizure frequency; whilst progesterone is thought to be anticonvulsive, reducing epileptiform discharges and clinical seizure occurrence. In addition to seizure clustering in relation to sex hormones, a relationship with circadian rhythms is also recognized. Epileptic seizures do not often strike randomly, but may occur in circadian patterns. The daily periodicity of seizures suggests a direct circadian influence on seizures of limbic origin where melatonin modulates circadian biorhythms and depresses brain excitability, prevents seizures and reduces GABAergic function.
The Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health, Aarhus University
Area of research:
4 June 2022 - 3 June 2023
This fellowship has received funding from The Aarhus University Research Foundation (AUFF)