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Medical News & Perspectives |

Epilepsy Experts Focus on Treatment Gaps

Tracy Hampton, PhD
JAMA. 2010;303(5):406-412. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.38.
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Boston—Although the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy have advanced substantially in recent years, this progress has not reached most of the 50 million people around the world who have the seizure disorder, including many of the nearly 3 million in the United States. This treatment gap was a focus of attention at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, held here in December.

“Many patients do not receive state-of-the art care, and in some regions of the world, 90% of patients with epilepsy are not on any medication,” said Steven Schachter, MD, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and president of the American Epilepsy Society. The heavy toll imposed by undiagnosed, untreated, and suboptimally treated epilepsy is significant, diminishing quality of life and raising risk of disability and death for many individuals, he said.

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Gretchen Birbeck, MD, MPH (second from right), and her epilepsy care team treat patients in Zambia with epilepsy and work to expand neurological care in the community.

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