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Warning to doctors over high level of childhood epilepsy misdiagnosis

8 March, 2006

Researchers have
warned doctors to be cautious when diagnosing children with epilepsy,
after a new study suggested over a third of children referred to an
epilepsy clinic did not have the condition.

A study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood investigated 223 children referred to the Danish Epilepsy Centre in Dianlund. Eighty-six per cent of the children referred were taking anti-epileptic medication.

All
of the children were given intensive tests at the epilepsy centre.
These showed that 87 of the 223 (39 per cent) did not have epilepsy.
These children were diagnosed with other conditions such as
non-epileptic seizures or staring episodes relating to learning
disabilities.

The
researchers, led by Dr Peter Uldall, expressed surprise that of those
referred without any doubts of the epilepsy diagnosis, 30 per cent of
the children were shown not to have the condition. However, they
accepted that diagnosis of epilepsy was difficult.