Early detection needed to cure epilepsy

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IMPHAL, November 17: National Epilepsy Day -2013 cum interaction programme under the theme “Epilepsy and Society” was observed today at Conference Hall of the Female Health Worker Training School, Lamphel. The event was jointly organized by FHWTS, Family Welfare Department, National Alliance for Elder’s People Livelihood, Research Advocacy and Chronic Diseases of India and ARDSI, Manipur Chapter.

Speaking as the guest of honour at the function, Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry, JNIMS, Dr K Shantibala Devi said that epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes people to have recurrent disruption of electrical activity in their brain and added that it is neither a mental illness or retardation or contagious.

She pointed out that it can be diagnosed and treated, and regarded as harmless if proper treatment were provided at the right time. If not treated at the right time or properly, injury and even death can result, she said. There are various form of Epilepsy and some can be genetic in nature, she said.

The causes of epilepsy are multiple and can be causes by head injury, infections that affect the brain, stroke, brain tumour, Alzheimer’s disease and genetic factors. During the period of pregnancy and child birth, the expectant mother should receive maximum care as accident happening during this period can lead to epilepsy, said Dr K Shantibala Devi who is also the vice-chairperson and scientific chief patron, NAEPLRA chronic diseases of India and ARDSI, Manipur Chapter.

She further said that the disease affects children and adults, men and women and people of all races, religions, ethnic background and social classes. Epilepsy is most commonly diagnosed either in childhood or after the age of 65 years, but it can occur at any age, and added that it is one of the most common neurological disorders and there are more than 10 million persons with epilepsy (PWE) in India.

The prevalence rate of PWE is about one percent of our population who is below the age of 25; two percent of age between 25- 75; four percent in children; six percent in developed countries and seven to 15 percent in underdeveloped places, she said and added that the numbers in rural areas is twice that of the urban areas and there is much need to strengthen epilepsy service in rural and underdeveloped regions.

She continued that the burden of epilepsy as estimated using the Disability-Adjust Life Years (DALYs) account for one percent of the total burden of diseases in the world, excluding those due to social stigma and isolation which PWE in our country faced, consequently leading to escalation of the disease burden.

The function was attended by former chairperson of IMC and chief editor, Ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease of Manipur state, social welfare board, RK Nayansana Devi; chief medical officer, Imphal west district, Dr S Bimolakumari Devi; principal, Female Health Worker Training School, Family Welfare Department, N Nalinibala Devi attended as chief guest, president and guest of honor respectively.

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