Children are more likely to have epilepsy if their mother had arthritis while the youngster was in the womb, a major study concludes.
Researchers discovered the risk of the seizure-triggering disorder is increased by 160 per cent if the woman suffered rheumatoid arthritis.
They are also three times as likely to develop the agonising condition in later life, data of nearly 1.4 million births shows.
Danish scientists are now calling for children born to arthritis sufferers to be given ‘special attention’ to monitor their health.
The findings, derived from 25 years of research, are believed down to the origins of rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune condition.
What triggers epilepsy?
Theories have suggested the condition, most common in women, triggers the body to release self-attacking antibodies that could get passed down into the womb.
However, in most cases of epilepsy, it’s unsure what disrupts electrical signals in the brain and causes seizures.
The Odense University Hospital researchers haven’t pinpointed exactly why arthritis may lead to epilepsy and have only established an association.