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Epilepsy linked to deprivation - study

28 March, 2007

Epilepsy is more common in people living in poorer areas than in more affluent areas, according to data collected by General Medical Service.

The
highest number of people with epilepsy in the UK was found in Merthyr
Tydfil, according to quality framework figures for 2005/6. It was also
more common in Northern Ireland and in Greater Glasgow.

Professor
David Chadwick, consultant neurologist at the University of Liverpool,
said: 'There is always a strong correlation between socio-economic
grouping and prevalence of epilepsy. This is the most likely
explanation for the patterns of epilepsy shown in the map.'

North
Yorkshire GP Dr William Hall said that people with epilepsy were more
likely to be economically disadvantaged and living in poorer areas.

Epilepsy
was less common in London and the surrounding areas of Surrey,
Hampshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and the Thames Valley but it was least
common north-west London. This may be because of the younger population
found in London and the surrounding commuter areas.

Epilepsy
is more common in older people, so areas with a high proportion of
older people will have a higher prevalence of epilepsy, said Dr Hall,
adding that it may be less common in major cities such as London, Leeds
and Cardiff because of better epilepsy services and a higher proportion
of practices which have reviewed epilepsy diagnoses.