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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for drug-resistant epilepsy

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2016
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Mentioned by

4 tweeters
2 Facebook pages


13 Dimensions

Readers on

151 Mendeley
Polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for drug-resistant epilepsy
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011014.pub2
Pubmed ID

Vivian Sarmento Vasconcelos, Cristiane R Macedo, Alexsandra de Souza Pedrosa, Edna Pereira Gomes Morais, Gustavo JM Porfírio, Maria R Torloni


An estimated 1% to 3% of all individuals will receive a diagnosis of epilepsy during their lives, which corresponds to approximately 50 million affected people worldwide. The real prevalence is possibly higher because epilepsy is underreported in developing countries. Although most will achieve adequate control of their disease though the use of medication, approximately 25% to 30% of all those with epilepsy are refractory to pharmacological treatment and will continue to have seizures despite the use of two or more agents in adequate dosages. Over the last decade, researchers have tested the use of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplements for the treatment of refractory epilepsy, with inconsistent results. There have also been some concerns about the use of omega-3 PUFA compounds because they reduce platelet aggregation and could, in theory, cause bleeding. To assess the effectiveness and tolerability of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid-EPA and docosahexanoic acid-DHA) in the control of seizures in people with refractory epilepsy. We searched the Cochrane Epilepsy Group Specialised Register (from inception up to November 2015), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (2015, issue 11), MEDLINE (1948 to November 2015), EMBASE (1980 to November 2015), SCOPUS (1823 to November 2015); LILACS (Literatura Latino-Americana e do Caribe de Informação em Ciências da Saúde) (1982 to November 2015); ClinicalTrials.gov; World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (November 2015). No language restrictions were imposed. We contacted study authors for additional and unpublished information and screened the reference lists of retrieved citations for potentially eligible studies not identified through the electronic search. All randomised and quasi-randomised studies using PUFAs for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. Two review authors were involved in study selection, data extraction and quality assessment of the included trials. The following outcomes were assessed: seizure freedom, seizure reduction, improvement in quality of life, potential adverse effects, gastrointestinal effects, drop-out rates and changes in plasma lipid profile. Primary analyses were by intention to treat. Eight studies were identified as potentially relevant; three fulfilled the selection criteria and were included in the review. Two placebo-controlled, double blind trials involving adult participants were conducted in developed countries, while one placebo-controlled, single blind trial involving children was conducted in a developing country (Egypt). Bromfield 2008 randomised 27 American adults to receive 2.2 g/day of omega-3 PUFAs (EPA:DHA in a 3:2 ratio) or placebo. Yuen 2005 randomised 58 people in the UK to approximately 1.7 g/day omega-3 PUFAs (1g EPA and 0.7g DHA) or placebo. Reda 2015 randomised 70 Egyptian children to receive 3 ml/day of 1200 mg fish oil (providing 0.24 g DHA and 0.36 g EPA) or placebo. The three studies recruited a total of 155 subjects (85 adults and 70 children); 78 of them (43 adults and 35 children) were randomised to PUFAs and 77 (42 adults and 35 children) to placebo. All participants were followed for up to 12 weeks. Seizure freedom was reported by only one study, with a high risk of bias, involving exclusively children. The risk estimate for this outcome was significantly higher in the children receiving PUFA compared to the control group (risk ratio (RR) 20.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.84 to 140.99, 1 study, 70 children). Similarly, PUFA supplementation was associated with a significant difference in the proportion of children with at least 50% reduction in seizure frequency (RR 33.00 95% CI 4.77 to 228.15, 1 study with a high risk of bias, 70 children). However, this effect was not observed when the data from two studies including adult participants were pooled (RR 0.57, 95% CI 0.19 to 1.75, I² 0%, 2 studies, 78 participants, low-quality evidence). One of our three primary outcomes (adverse effects related to bleeding) was not assessed in any of the studies included in this review. There were no significant differences between the PUFA and control groups in relation to gastrointestinal effects (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.32 to 1.89, 2 studies, 85 participants, low-quality evidence).Supplementation with PUFA did not produce significant differences in mean frequency of seizures, quality of life or other side effects. In view of the limited number of studies and small sample sizes, there is not enough evidence to support the use of PUFA supplementation in people with refractory epilepsy. More trials are needed to assess the benefits of PUFA supplementation in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 4 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 151 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Unknown 148 98%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 37 25%
Student > Bachelor 21 14%
Student > Ph. D. Student 16 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 10 7%
Researcher 10 7%
Other 25 17%
Unknown 32 21%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 55 36%
Nursing and Health Professions 19 13%
Neuroscience 7 5%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 6 4%
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 5 3%
Other 25 17%
Unknown 34 23%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 4. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 25 April 2017.
All research outputs
of 12,527,219 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 159 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,527,219 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 71st percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 8,923 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 21.2. This one is in the 39th percentile – i.e., 39% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 260,377 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 67% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 159 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 32nd percentile – i.e., 32% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.