Why do doctors are struggling to diagnose epilepsy?


A new study of epilepsy patients found that many of them did not know they had epilepsy, the neurologist who led the study said.

The study, which was published Thursday in the journal Neurology, found that patients with epilepsy did not have a history of being told that they had the disease and were often unaware of what it did.

The neurologist, John F. Loughran, professor of neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle, said that the lack of awareness about epilepsy could have an impact on the care patients receive, including the use of medications and how they are treated.

He noted that many patients with the disease did not seek care from neurologists because they felt they did not need one.

“Some of the neurologists I know don’t feel they’re doing their patients any favors,” Loughren said.

“So we’re in a position where we need to be much more aware and more involved.”

Loughran said he found that most patients with chronic epilepsy were unaware of the disease, which he said was one of the reasons they did poorly on a test to diagnose it.

“They don’t know they’re having seizures,” he said.

“And so they can’t really take it as seriously as they should be.”

The study found that when patients were asked about the severity of their seizures, a third of them reported the disorder was not severe enough for them to be considered seizure-free.

The survey also found that only 4 percent of the patients said they had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, while another 12 percent said they were born with it.

About a third had epilepsy as an adult, while only 1 percent were diagnosed with it as an infant.

The findings of the study came as lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and Oregon are considering bills to expand epilepsy treatment.

The bills, introduced last week, would allow patients with “dementia, autism spectrum disorder or other neurological disorders” to receive a new type of treatment called a seizure inhibitor that would include medications and treatments that could help prevent seizures.

The bill, which is sponsored by Republican state Rep. Steve Hansen, would require doctors to ask about epilepsy and how severe it was for patients to receive treatment.

The bill also would allow doctors to provide information on seizure-reduction medication and seizure-suppression therapy for people with epilepsy.

The legislation has drawn fire from epilepsy advocates who said the bills could lead to an increased use of the drug.

The National Association of Neurological Surgeons has urged the White House to veto the bills.

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