Study points to potential for improvement in the care, quality of life of epilepsy patients

(Medical Xpress)—Routine screening for psychiatric, cognitive and social problems could enhance the quality of care and quality of life for children and adults with epilepsy, according to a study by UC Irvine neurologist Dr. Jack Lin and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Amedeo Avogadro University in Italy.

Physicians who treat those with epilepsy often focus on seizures, Lin said. However, patients show an increased prevalence of (mood, anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders), cognitive disorders (in memory, language or problem solving) and (involving employment or personal interactions). The relationship between epilepsy and these complications is complex and poorly understood. Lin said they may present greater problems for a patient if left untreated.

Study results appear today in The Lancet.

"Screening for psychiatric, cognitive and social comorbidities is essential not only in established cases but also with newly diagnosed epilepsy," Lin said. "By doing so, we can ensure that these issues are treated and that patients have a better quality of life."

He emphasized that screening should also be conducted prior to any new drug treatment.

Problems that occur in conjunction with childhood and adult epilepsy are referred to by doctors as comorbidities, meaning that they have a greater than coincidental chance of appearing alongside each other though there is not necessarily a between them.

The study suggests a number of possible factors responsible for these comorbidities, including the characteristics of epilepsy and its medication protocol, underlying , and epilepsy-related disruptions of normal and aging.

While experts have begun to recognize the effects of psychiatric, cognitive and social comorbidities in epilepsy, Lin noted, gaps remain in the early detection, treatment and prevention of these issues.

Related Stories

Cognitive problems may appear in children with epilepsy

date Nov 09, 2010

Up to half of new cases of epilepsy are in children and adolescents. This is particularly significant because the onset of epilepsy in children can have a lasting impact on their cognitive development, says ...

Study examines the effect of epilepsy on the aging

date Apr 16, 2008

An article published in the May 2008 issue of Epilepsia calls attention to the lack of knowledge regarding cognitive aging in chronic epilepsy patients. For persons with chronic epilepsy, little is known about the impact ...

Recommended for you

Altered pain processing in patients with cognitive impairment

date May 29, 2015

People with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment (CI) have altered responses to pain, with many conditions associated with increased pain sensitivity, concludes a research review in Pain, the official publication of the ...

Changing activity in the ageing brain

date May 29, 2015

Normal ageing affects our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks. But exactly how our brain functions change during this process is largely unknown. Now, researchers in Malaysia have demonstrated that ...

Networking neurons thrive in 3-D human 'organoid'

date May 29, 2015

A patient tormented by suicidal thoughts gives his psychiatrist a few strands of his hair. She derives stem cells from them to grow budding brain tissue harboring the secrets of his unique illness in a petri ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.