Peer support shows promise in epilepsy fight
Peer support groups show promise for combating the debilitating stigma that surrounds epilepsy in much of the developing world, according to a new study led by a Michigan State University medical student.
The researchers report in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior that young people with the disease felt significantly less stigmatized after meeting regularly to discuss their illness.
While drugs are widely available to reduce epileptic seizures, the stigma and discrimination that arise from those seizures is a thornier problem, said Melissa Elafros, who is pursuing medical and doctoral degrees in MSU's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
"In Africa a lot of people think epilepsy is contagious or associated with witchcraft," she said. "If you're told something often enough, you start to believe it's true. So people with epilepsy start to internalize that stigma."
That feeling of shame leads some people to stop seeking treatment, Elafros said. Children with epilepsy often drop out of school, and some adults stop looking for work.
Peer support groups have been shown to help with other kinds of stigma, so Elafros and colleagues decided to test the groups as an intervention for epilepsy patients.
They trained local partners to facilitate monthly meetings of support groups made up of men, women and youths from 12 to 18 years old. The meetings involved guided discussion among the participants of epilepsy-related challenges they'd faced and solutions they'd found.
After a year of meetings, an evaluation of the youths showed that they felt significantly less stigmatized. There was a trend toward improvement in felt stigma among the adults, though it was not statistically significant.
"It could be that adults have just learned to cope with things as they are," Elafros said. "Or adults may need some larger intervention than that."
Still, the findings offer a much-needed glimmer of hope after decades in which several studies described the problem of epilepsy-related stigma but few systematic interventions were aimed at fixing it.
"This shows we can finally do something for people with epilepsy," she said. "The idea that you could intervene in a teenager's life and help them better cope with a condition they may have for the rest of their life, I think that's really quite significant."
Provided by Michigan State University
- Is Twitter reinforcing negative perceptions of epilepsy? Feb 29, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Study finds parasites and poor antenatal care are main causes of epilepsy in Africa Jan 30, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
- Migraine sufferers stigmatized because of their condition: study Jan 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
- Non-epileptic seizures may be misdiagnosed longer in veterans Sep 05, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Antidepressants may lead to fewer seizures in people with epilepsy Dec 03, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
While Huntington's disease (HD) is currently incurable, the HD research community anticipates that new disease-modifying therapies in development may slow or minimize disease progression. The success of HD research depends ...
Neuroscience 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Study shows premature birth interrupts vital brain development processes leading to reduced cognitive abilities
Researchers from King's College London have for the first time used a novel form of MRI to identify crucial developmental processes in the brain that are vulnerable to the effects of premature birth. This new study, published ...
Neuroscience 8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
While the effects of acute stroke have been widely studied, brain damage during the subacute phase of stroke has been a neglected area of research. Now, a new study by the University of South Florida reports that within a ...
Neuroscience 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Over the past few decades, neuroscientists have made much progress in mapping the brain by deciphering the functions of individual neurons that perform very specific tasks, such as recognizing the location ...
Neuroscience 13 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (7) | 0 |
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
Neuroscience May 18, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
New research suggests that a compound abundant in the Mediterranean diet takes away cancer cells' "superpower" to escape death. By altering a very specific step in gene regulation, this compound essentially re-educates cancer ...
7 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (8) | 1 |
Salamanders' immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have ...
8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 2 |
Researchers have pinpointed a catalytic trigger for the onset of Alzheimer's disease – when the fundamental structure of a protein molecule changes to cause a chain reaction that leads to the death of neurons ...
8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Turns out, that old "practice makes perfect" adage may be overblown. New research led by Michigan State University's Zach Hambrick finds that a copious amount of practice is not enough to explain why people ...
5 hours ago | 3.1 / 5 (7) | 0 |
Older prostate cancer patients with other underlying health conditions should think twice before committing to surgery or radiation therapy for their cancer, according to a multicenter study led by researchers in the UCLA ...
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new diagnostic test for a worm infection that can lead to severe enlargement and deformities of the legs and genitals is far more sensitive than the currently used test, according to results of a field ...
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |