Epilepsy Aware­ness Week: Half of child suf­fer­ers re­cover, but stigma re­mains

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By JUDY SIEGEL

One out of ev­ery 100 – or 70,000 in­di­vid­u­als – suf­fers from epilepsy, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts cur­rently mark­ing Is­rael Epilepsy Aware­ness Week.

But the good news is that half of chil­dren di­ag­nosed with the neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­ease will re­cover within a few years.

Soroka Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Beer­sheba is now of­fer­ing elec­troen­cephalo­gram (EEG) screen­ing for early di­ag­no­sis of epilepsy. The hospital is in the process of set­ting up a brain cen­ter for di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment of epilepsy.

The ser­vice will be headed by Prof. Mati Lif­shitz to­gether with tech­ni­cians. Such screen­ing tests are very ac­cu­rate for de­ter­min­ing whether peo­ple suf­fer from epilepsy, what type and which part of the brain is af­fected, they said.

Due to ir­reg­u­lar elec­tri­cal ac­tiv­ity in cer­tain parts of the brain, epilep­tic at­tacks oc­cur oc­ca­sion­ally or fre­quently. The at­tacks can be short or long, in­volv­ing con­vul­sions and even loss of con­scious­ness in the more se­vere cases. Yet seven out of 10 pa­tients who take med­i­ca­tions are com­pletely free from the at­tacks.

Dr. Iris Neu­mann, a pe­di­atric neu­rol­o­gist and epilepsy ex­pert at the hospital, said the new cen­ter uses a de­vice that reg­is­ters the brain’s elec­tri­cal ac­tiv­ity and pho­to­graphs the pa­tient si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Thus the staff can view the clin­i­cal signs as well as brain ac­tiv­ity. The mon­i­tor­ing goes on for 24 hours or more, ac­cord­ing to clin­i­cal needs and the fre­quency of the at­tacks.

Soroka also has the Anita Kauf­man Epilepsy Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter run by Galit Green­berg – a unique fa­cil­ity that gives sup­port to fam­i­lies with epilepsy pa­tients, raises pub­lic aware­ness of the dis­ease and tries to re­duce the stigma of those suf­fer­ing from the dis­ease. It also teaches the general pub­lic what to do if they see a per­son in an epilep­tic at­tack and re­duces anx­i­ety among pa­tients who tend to hide their ill­ness. The cen­ter has al­ready de­liv­ered free lec­tures to 3,000 peo­ple around the coun­try.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel

© PressReader. All rights reserved.