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Epilepsy Patients Caught in Treatment Gap and Not Getting State-of-the-Art Care
Date:12/4/2009

BOSTON, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Substantial progress has been made over the last 15 years in the healthcare community's ability to diagnose and treat epilepsy and its complications. Yet this progress in epilepsy management has not reached most of the 50 million people around the world, including many of the nearly three million people in the United States who have the disorder.

According to Steven C. Schachter, M.D., president of the American Epilepsy Society (AES), there is an enormous gap between what is currently being done and what is possible today to lessen the burden of epilepsy around the world. The consequences are not insignificant, as uncontrolled epilepsy leads to a diminished quality of life, and a greater risk of disability and death.

Patrick Kwan, MD, PhD, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Eric R. Hargis, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation, joined Dr. Schachter to address the treatment gap in epilepsy at the AES 63rd Annual Meeting held here at the Hynes Convention Center. Dr. Kwan participated in an international committee of epilepsy experts that has developed the first ever global, consensus definition of refractory epilepsy. The newly developed definition will be presented during a special symposium on Tuesday. (ILAE Symposium: Redefining Treatment Resistant Epilepsy)

Citing data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Schachter says, "An astonishing three-quarters of the global population with epilepsy get no treatment whatsoever for their seizures. While most patients here in the U.S. receive some form of therapy, there are racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in access to treatment, surgery in particular, and significant under-diagnosis and treatment of associated complications of mood, memory and cognition." (Platforms B.03)

In a study scheduled for presentation on Sunday, for example, researchers at a specialized epilepsy center will report on ei
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SOURCE American Epilepsy Society
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