Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Parental and comorbid epilepsy in persons with bipolar disorder

List of Authors: Suckdorff Dan, Brown Alan S, Chudal Roshan, Jokiranta-Olkoniemi Elina, Leivonen Susanna, Suominen Auli, Heinimaa Markus, Sourander Andre

Publication year: 2015

Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

Volume number: 188

Number of pages: 5

ISSN: 0165-0327




Population-based studies have demonstrated an overrepresentation of bipolar disorder (BPD) in individuals with epilepsy. However, few studies have examined the reverse association, i.e. comorbid epilepsy in individuals selected based on BPD diagnosis. No previous population-based study having examined the co-occurrence of BPD and epilepsy has adjusted for parental psychopathology. Such an adjustment is motivated by population-based studies reporting an overrepresentation of various types of parental psychiatric disorders in both BPD and epilepsy. Furthermore, an association between epilepsy in first-degree relatives and BPD has previously only been examined and demonstrated in a small clinical sample. The objective of this study is to examine the associations between parental and comorbid epilepsy and BPD, adjusting for parental psychopathology.


This nested case-control study identified 1861 cases with BPD, age up to 25 years, 3643 matched controls, and their parents from Finnish national registers. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and two-sided significance limits of p<0.05.


BPD was associated with comorbid epilepsy (adjusted OR 2.53, 95% CI: 1.73-3.70) but not with parental epilepsy. Epilepsy was found in 3.33% of cases versus 1.29% of controls, 2.69% of cases' parents versus 2.53% of controls' parents.


The diagnoses were register-based, not based on standardized procedures with direct ascertainment.


An association between BPD and comorbid epilepsy persists even after adjusting for parental psychopathology. Lack of familial clustering of BPD and epilepsy would suggest that the elevated co-occurrence of these disorders is influenced by non-genetic factors.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 08:23