Editorials

Bringing epilepsy out of the shadows

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7099.2 (Published 05 July 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:2

Wide treatment gap needs to be reduced

  1. Rajendra Kale, Neurologista
  1. a 37 Shanwar, Pune 411 030, India.

    The history of epilepsy can be summarised as 4000 years of ignorance, superstition, and stigma followed by 100 years of knowledge, superstition, and stigma. Knowing that seizures result from sudden, excessive, abnormal electrical discharges of a set of neurones in the brain has done little to dispel misunderstanding about epilepsy in most of the world. More than three quarters of sufferers remain untreated despite the availability in phenobarbitone of a cheap antiepileptic drug. Epilepsy remains a hidden disease associated with discrimination in the work place, school, and home.

    Epilepsy—a state of recurrent and usually unprovoked seizures—is a truly universal disorder. People of both sexes, all ages, and every race, country, and socioeconomic group are susceptible to it. Its annual incidence is about 50 per 100 000 in the developed world, twice that in the developing world, and in some parts up to 190 …

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