A 41-YEAR study by Oxford University has discovered people with epilepsy are 11 times more likely to die prematurely.

Researchers looked at 69,995 epilepsy sufferers in Sweden born between 1954 and 2009, and 660,869 from the same age group without epilepsy.

Jane Hanna, the head of Wantage-based charity SUDEP – Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy – Action, said the study was important due to the number of people monitored.

She added: “It finds that nine per cent of people with epilepsy die young compared with 0.7 per cent of the general population. Preventing mortality in epileptics should be a priority.”