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Epilepsy has "negative impact" on education and achievement

5 August, 2003

Researchers at Leiden University, studying the long-term psychosocial effects of living with epilepsy, have said that young people with epilepsy are more likely to underachieve at school, leading to problems achieving in later life.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved sending a questionnaire, in 1995, to 333 people with epilepsy diagnosed between 1953 and 1967. The results showed that of the 243 who responded, 134 had been seizure-free for the previous five years and 81 people still had seizures in the year prior to the questionnaire. One hundred and twenty-seven people were taking anti-epileptic drugs.

When compared to the general Dutch population, fewer people had married or had children in the epilepsy group and more people were living alone, at home with their parents or in residential homes. The researchers said that the results indicated that having epilepsy at school led to a "significant negative effect" on learning and while their employment status is effected less, a higher proportion of people were on disability benefits amongst the epilepsy group than the general population.

However, generally speaking, the study showed that epilepsy patients felt much more positive about their general health, more so than the Dutch population as a whole. Only 8 per cent admitted to worrying about their health.