Epilepsy Data Dearth

Researchers say more is needed in the way of epilepsy surveillance data

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A team of researchers from the St. Louis University School of Public Health found that epilepsy surveillance and an ongoing data collection for newly diagnosed epilepsy is "almost nonexistent."

This data dearth leaves physicians at a loss as how to make informed decisions. The St. Louis University team points to narrowly focused channels of funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one reason that researchers of the neurological disease are left with no other option than analyzing data that is 30 to 50 years old.

The study, which followed 412 epilepsy patients from Rochester, Minn., who were diagnosed between 1960 and 1979, found that at least one in 26 people will go on to develop epilepsy. This risk increases up to 3 percent in the elderly.

Study author Dale C. Hesdorffer, PhD., associate professor of clinical epidemiology in the Sergievsky Center at Columbia University Medical Center, said these results underscore a need for more research using epilepsy surveillance data, especially in light of the aging population in the U.S.

The researchers contend that closely following epilepsy trends is needed to gauge the success of improvements in epilepsy care, to identify problems with the care and to provide modern data for researchers.

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Review Date: 
January 6, 2011
Last Updated:
January 6, 2011