Alcohol may undoubtedly precipitate seizures in those who already have had previous seizures.
There is also an association between chronic alcohol abuse and the occurrence of fits even when sober. Those who drink alcohol to excess are usually aware that they are running the risk of cirrhosis of the liver, but not many realize that chronic alcoholism can result in loss of cerebral nerve cells, seizures, and impairment of intellect.
Degenerative disorders-As advances in knowledge occur, fewer and fewer diseases will be assigned to this non-specific group. Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, the human equivalent of ‘mad cow’ disease for example, used to be regarded as degenerative , before it was shown to be caused by an infective agent. Pre-senile dementia (Alzheimer’s disease), in which the cerebral nerve cells gradually become fewer in number, is associated with seizures. Some cases are inherited, and almost certainly in most there is a biochemical abnormality responsible for this loss of nerve cells, and, hopefully, when this has been identified, some sort of pharmacological treatment will be possible. This sequence of events has already occurred in Parkinson’s disease. This was regarded as a degenerative disorder until 30 years ago. A defect in the metabolism of a transmitter called dopamine was identified, and a suitable drug (L-dopa) produced. A number of degenerative disorders which start in childhood (including one called Batten’s disease) present with frequent seizures.