Navigation Links
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."


Contact: Andy McGlashen
Michigan State University

Related medicine news :

1. Supporting LGB children may influence their long-term health, BU study finds
2. International breast health global summit will focus on supportive care and quality of life
3. Americans Support Medicare Reform, But Not on Their Dime: Poll
4. Decision support system translates into high percentage of positive chest CT examinations
5. More cutting-edge cancer research supported by industry
6. Study Supports Value of Sigmoidoscopy, an Alternative to Colonoscopy
7. Behavioral support from peers, staff lowers patients blood pressure
8. Study supports urate protection against Parkinsons disease, hints at novel mechanism
9. The W3 Project Receives Support from Doulton for Emergency Relief Efforts
10. Dietary fiber alters gut bacteria, supports gastrointestinal health
11. Narconon Louisiana Supports United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... N.C. (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... The ... to drive awareness and funds for Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) research, timed today to ... Atrophy takes many things from patients including their ability to work and be productive, ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... Royal River ... a new study that found post-menopausal women who took the nutritional supplement creatine, along ... women who trained but did not take creatine. , The report is part of ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville has ... the only hospital in the region providing what is known as the world’s ... patients were revealed recently at a medical conference and published in The New ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... identification tests to continue the expansion of the company’s growing product line of ... for Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) – allow InstantLabs to offer ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Diabetic foot wounds ... Podiatrists are well aware that psychology-based patient non-compliance (disobedience of a health care ... to diseases of the diabetic foot. The American Board of Multiple Specialties ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... --> --> ... Acid Labeling Market by Product (Reagents & Kits, Services), ... Vitro Transcription, Reverse Transcription, End Labeling), by Region - ... market is expected to reach USD 1,925.7 Million by ... a CAGR of 8.65%. Browse 77 market ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 1, 2015 Building on its 25-year ... Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) today announced four ... to significantly reduce the burden of HIV incidence, ... percent of new HIV infections among adolescents in ... Day, these new initiatives include collaborations with the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... DUBLIN , Dec. 01, 2015 ... ) has announced the addition of ... Testing Market: Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. Coli, ... Yersinia" report to their offering. ... announced the addition of the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: