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December 10, 2018

Addressing Cultural Barriers to Diagnosis and Treatment of Epilepsy in Hispanic Communities

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pathology and Anatomy, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia
  • 2Department of Neurology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia
  • 3Doctor of Medicine Program, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia
JAMA Neurol. Published online December 10, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.3919

Epilepsy affects the quality of life of patients in the Hispanic community physically, socially, and psychologically1,2 and is associated with the outcome of the disease and their prognosis. The recurrence risk after a first seizure of untreated patients is 40% within 2 years.3 Hispanic communities with low income may lack knowledge about seizures and have false perceptions about epilepsy.4 Hispanic populations with less than a high school education may be likely to believe that epilepsy is contagious or is a sin, perceiving that an exorcism would be a good remedy for epilepsy.2 These perceptions can lead to poor self-efficacy of patients with epilepsy, a perceived stigma because of their condition, and negative outcomes in their health care.