Table 2

Studies reporting temporal trends in the incidence of epilepsy in children*

Study type‘Epilepsy’ definitionPopulationLocationNew events in entire population (period)Evidence of temporal trendReferences
Community-based study using linked recordsMedical records indicative of epilepsyAll (45123) residentsCopparo, Northern Italy230 (1964–1978)No. Observed incidence rates did not show a significant temporal trend; however, age-specific rates were not provided31
Community-based prospective studiesInitial diagnosis of unprovoked seizuresAll (52152) children under 16 in 1974. All (50692) children under 16 in 1987Vasterbotten, Northern Sweden70 (1973–1974) 75 (1985–1987)Possibly. In the period 1985–1987, the estimated annual incidence rate (88.8/100000 individuals at risk) was 34% lower than in the period 1973–1974 (134/100000 individuals at risk)29 30
Linkage of medical recordsClinical diagnosis of epilepsyAll (245969) residents in 1935–1944 and all (573152) residents in 1975–1984Rochester, Minnesota, USA94 (1935–1444) 275 (1975–1984)Yes. Incidence of epilepsy in children under 10 declined by 40% between the periods 1935–1944 (∼140/100000) and 1975–1984 (∼85/100000). There was a downward trend for the first four decades followed by an upward trend in the last decade26 28
Review of primary care recordsOne or more non-febrile seizuresAll (6000) adult and child patients from one GP practiceTonbridge, England56 (1974–1983) 39 (1984–1993)Possibly. Annual first attendance rates in children under 20 years of age declined by 60% (χ2, p<0.001) between 1974–1983 (152.5/100 000 individuals) and 1984–1993 (60.9/100000 individuals)2
Study using population registersAED prescription for epilepsy controlEntire population of ∼5.2 millionFinland51767 (1986–2002)Yes. Incidence in children age 0–15 declined significantly between 1986 and 2002 (RR=0.77, <0.0001)11
Population-based primary care studySingle prescription for an AEDAll (?) children aged 0–18 registered at GP practices participating in General Practice Research DatabaseUK4839 (1993–2005)Possibly. Incidence of AED prescription in children declined from ∼88/100000 person-years in 1993 to ∼67/100000 person-years in 2005. It is not clear whether this trend is statistically significant12
Study using linked population dataIndividuals with epilepsy admitted to hospitalEntire population of 6543342Denmark88616 (1977–2002)Yes. The overall incidence rate of epilepsy diagnosis in children <1 year declined between 1995 and 200210
  • *Data in this table are restricted to studies which investigated temporal trends in the incidence of epilepsy, seizures or antiepileptic drug (AED) prescriptions in children under 18 years of age.

  • GP, general practitioner.