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Children with epilepsy say their quality of life is better than their parents think
Date:5/13/2010

Children with epilepsy often face multiple challenges not only seizures but learning, cognitive and school difficulties, side effects from medication, and, not surprisingly, social stigma from their peers.

It's no wonder parents say their children with epilepsy have a substantially worse quality of life than their other, healthy children. But ask a child with epilepsy about his or her life, and the answer? Not so bad.

Reporting in the current online edition of the journal Value in Health, lead study author Dr. Christine Bower Baca, a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and a clinical instructor in the UCLA Department of Neurology, and her colleagues found that children with epilepsy say their quality of life is comparable to that of their healthy siblings.

Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological condition that can negatively impact physical, social and psychological function. The burden of epilepsy is large. Overall, approximately 3 million people in the United States have epilepsy, and for half of this population, the disorder first occurred during childhood.

Approximately 45,000 children under the age of 15 develop epilepsy each year. There are many causes of epilepsy in children, including problems with brain development before birth, lack of oxygen during or following birth, head injuries, tumors, prolonged seizures with fevers, genetics, or infections in the brain.

In the study, researchers assessed 143 children with epilepsy, matching each to a healthy, non-epileptic sibling as a control, and to their parents or guardians. The assessment was done by conducting personal interviews eight to nine years after a child's initial diagnosis, using the Child Health Questionnaire, a generic and well-established measure with both child and parent versions. The average age of the children with epilepsy when interviewed was 12.

The researchers found that parents' ratings of their children's quality
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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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