Supervisor: Dr Howard Ring, University of Cambridge
Student: Ms Josephine Illingworth
Physical and emotional stresses in epilepsy and intellectual disability
Epilepsy occurs more often in people with intellectual disability (ID) than in the general population and is often more difficult to treat. This project will examine whether there are any physical, emotional or environmental stresses that contribute to making epilepsy in people with ID more treatment-resistant.
In the first stage of the research, possible stresses will be identified by interviewing service users and carers and reviewing relevant research literature. The second stage will examine the relationship, over one year, between occurrence of physical, environmental and emotional stresses and changes in epilepsy severity, in a group of adults with ID. An easy-to-use system for observing and recording possible stresses, which service users (where possible) and carers will complete as the year progresses will be developed. This will enable the investigation of relationships between stresses and changes in epilepsy severity using established statistical methods.
This is important because in the general population various stresses can trigger seizures. Those with ID and epilepsy face additional problems including physical and emotional stresses, with limited communication skills resulting in difficulties drawing attention to problems.