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Global Health
November 21, 2012

Reducing the Epilepsy Burden

JAMA. 2012;308(19):1963. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.73687

Although epilepsy is more than twice as common in low- and lower-middle-income countries than in high-income countries, the majority of those with the disease in the developing world are not receiving proper treatment, according to a report from an international research team (Newton CR and Garcia HH. Lancet. 2012;380:1193-1201).

The investigators carried out a comprehensive review of 646 academic articles on epilepsy in developing countries published between 1966 and May 2012. Head injury, complications during childbirth, poor prenatal and perinatal care, and parasitic diseases contribute to the higher burden of epilepsy in these countries, most of which are in Africa. More deaths associated with epilepsy occur in low-income than in high-income countries, and this is thought to result from lack of treatment of the disease.