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Is the word 'brainstorming' offensive to people with epilepsy?

The word 'brainstorming' is not offensive to the vast majority of people with epilepsy, according to a survey carried out by Epilepsy Society in 2005.

The word has been used since the 1940s to describe the method of problem-solving or generating ideas where all present at a meeting make spontaneous suggestions. In the last year, it has been reported in the press that both the Welsh Development Agency and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Belfast have deemed the word brainstorming to be politically incorrect, with 'thought-showers' suggested as a suitable replacement.

However, in the survey, 93 per cent of people with epilepsy did not find the term derogatory or offensive in any way and many felt that this sort of political correctness singled out people with epilepsy as being easily offended.

In separate research, we asked for the views of people with epilepsy on the matter. One commented:

"I have no objection whatsoever to the term brainstorming. I am sure the public do not, in any way, associate this with epilepsy so why should we?"

Our view is that it depends upon the context: if the word is being used to describe a meeting where participants are suggesting ideas, then its use is not offensive to people with epilepsy. However, it should not be used to describe a seizure or the electrical activity within the brain during a seizure.

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Comments: read the 3 comments or add yours


Tell that to lying Megyn Kelly who just told America on the Today Show that 'brainstorming' is offensive to people with epilepsy and she's upset that people are demanding so much PC language.

Submitted by MaineChic-Let on

I believe this is an absurd manner that has nothing to do with the fact a small percentage of people actually come to find this derogatory term an offensive manner thus leading to an outcome of changing the term to another phrase.
If one of the community finds something like this offensive I think they need to change the way they think as this is not at all indicating anything towards being agrrovated towards an epileptic person. One is only offended at something if they do not know how to respond to it or feel pity for the unlucky portion that are suffering from the case of being epileptic.

Submitted by JJ on

I've never heard anything so ridiculous in my life. As someone with epilepsy I brainstorm everyday I'm studying towards my degree. I wish people would mind their own business when this doesn't even affect them.

Submitted by Joanne Mayer on