Background The vocational parameters regarding epilepsy are not well established. Our aim was to assess the risk of seizures as a function of occupational stress and disease severity in military recruits of the IDF (Israel Defense Force) and to examine the effect of new classification criteria (used between the late nineties and early two thousands) in comparison with that of previous criteria (used during the mid-eighties to mid-nineties). Methods The medical records of over 150,000 18-year-old men recruited to the IDF between the mid-nineties and the mid-two thousands were used to assemble a cohort, which was followed for a period of 36 months. The severity of the disease was determined according to 3 categories, according to the medical history. The recruits were subdivided according to their occupational categories to Combat Units (CUs), Maintenance Units (MUs), and Administrative Units (AUs). We compared the incidence rates of the different groups with the findings from a previous follow-up. Results The annual incidence rates during 36 months of follow-up were 0.026%, 4.7%, and 8.8%, in categories 1 to 3, respectively. The relative risk of seizure incidence in CU and MU was lower than in AU (0.42 and 0.81, p < 0.0001). Similar findings were found in other disease categories. Conclusions Job assignment to CU (less convenient conditions like sleep deprivation and strenuous physical activity) did not increase the incidence of seizures. It was found that EEG examination is an important criterion in the vocational evaluation of subjects that have had one or more seizures. This study supports the establishment of vocational criteria and recommends the integration of people diagnosed with epilepsy in most occupations.
- Sleep deprivation