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Center for Disease Control|
Framework for Epilepsy Prevention and Control
Epilepsy: One of the Nationís Most Common Disabling Neurological Disorders
Epilepsy is a general term that includes various types of seizures. People with diagnosed epilepsy have had more than one seizure, and they may have had more than one kind of seizure. A seizure happens when abnormal electrical activity in the brain causes an involuntary change in body movement or function, sensation, awareness, or behavior.
Epilepsy and seizures affect about 2.3 million Americans, and result in an estimated annual cost of $12.5 billion in medical costs and lost or reduced earnings and production. People of all ages are affected, but particularly the very young and the elderly. About 10% of Americans will experience a seizure, and about 3% will have or will have had a diagnosis of epilepsy by age 80.
Living Well with Epilepsy, the first national conference on public health and epilepsy, convened in September 1997. The conference was cosponsored by CDC, the American Epilepsy Society, the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, and the Epilepsy Foundation. The conference cosponsors sought to
Participants collaborated on developing a list of priority epilepsy concerns ranging from researching the evaluation and care of patients having a first seizure to combating stigmatization and reducing disabilities associated with epilepsy. This list of priority concerns was the impetus for developing CDC epilepsy programs directed at improving care, improving communication, self-management, surveillance, and public awareness.
Seizures and Epilepsy: A Public Health Priority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Burden of Epilepsy
Key Public Health Issues
Activities of CDC's Epilepsy Program
With input from experts (including members of the American Epilepsy Society and the Epilepsy Foundation), CDC and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have collaborated on developing a systematic method of evaluating the quality and quantity of research on the care of people with epilepsy. Evidence-based reports are being developed that will provide systematic assessments and syntheses of published scientific literature relating to the diagnosis, management, and treatment of people with epilepsy.
A bibliographic database on the self-management of epilepsy has been developed as part of a larger project to build systems within managed care that will improve health outcomes for people with a range of chronic conditions.
Many teenagers with epilepsy face unique challenges related to activities such as driving, school attendance, work, and dating. CDC is working with the Epilepsy Foundation and other partners on a communication campaign to provide adolescents with skills and information to help them make decisions about whether, with whom, and when to share information about epilepsy and seizures. CDC will also work with its partners to assess the needs of parents in assisting their children with epilepsy in taking appropriate responsibility for managing their condition.
In order to develop and assess effective interventions that promote epilepsy self-management, it is important to have an accurate understanding of the challenges that people with epilepsy face in their everyday interactions with those around them. CDC is embarking on research to develop and test a tool to assess the publicís perceptions about people with epilepsy.
Despite the high prevalence of epilepsy in the elderly, relatively little is known about the impact of this disorder in older age. CDC will conduct research related to the quality of life of elderly persons with epilepsy.
Epilepsy Education and Prevention Activities information is provided as part of the Combined Health Information Database. Collection of this information began in 1994 and includes journal articles, monographs, technical reports, proceedings, papers, policy documents, legislation, unpublished documents, and curricular materials. Over 2,000 records are included in this collection.
CDC is working cooperatively with the Epilepsy Foundation to conduct activities in the areas of building partnerships, creating awareness, improving health communications, and offering consumer and provider education.
CDC will work to promote