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Seizing the day
Date:12/31/2008

Subject to sudden unexpected seizures, epileptics are often a subject of discrimination in the workforce. Many employers are hesitant to hire epileptics, fearing that stressful workplace situations might bring on an attack. But a new Tel Aviv University study suggests these fears are groundless.

New research findings from Dr. Shlomo Moshe of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine show that occupational stress has no effect at all on the incidence of epilepsy attacks. The research also gives physicians and employers important information to assess the health and safety of prospective employees who suffer from the disease. It especially benefits those who have been seizure-free for a long period of time, because indicators show they are likely to stay seizure-free.

"People are prejudiced against epileptics, who learn how hide their condition very well," says Dr. Moshe. "It becomes a problem when they're trying to get work, because most employers avoid hiring epileptics. But occupational physicians have been asking for years, 'What are the real risks?' Our new study provides the answer."

Unprecedented in Size and Predictive Power

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, more than 3 million Americans suffer from epilepsy and 200,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. One in 10 adults will have a seizure sometime in their lifetime. There is no cure for the disorder, and even when it's in remission, there is a strong stigma against people with epilepsy.

The largest of its kind ever conducted, Dr. Moshe's study, recently reported in the journal Epilepsia, surveyed over 300,000 people with no history of epilepsy and compared them to a sample of 16,000 epileptics. The last major study to investigate the risk of occupational stress on epilepsy, reported a few years ago by the New England Journal of Medicine, was based on a sample size of only 200 people, making this new Tel Aviv University study a real first
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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