Over this last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at 2014 Not Another Moment Lost to Seizures Statewide Conference that was sponsored by the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana. The presentations by Christopher Shafer, M.D., and Karen Skjei, M.D. were a wonderful exposure to current treatment approaches for seizures, including new medications and neuromodulation techniques.
Epilepsy, two or more unprovoked seizures, impacts 50,000,000 people worldwide, and more than 300,000 children in the United States. A review of the psychological and psychosocial literature for my presentation highlighted that approximately a third of the children and teens that are diagnosed with epilepsy will have issues with anxiety, depression or behavioral issues and that an even larger number will manifest difficulties with attention and learning. The research shows that Cognitive Behavioral Interventions can be effective in many cases to improve emotional functioning and can also provide parents with the tools needed to help their children cope with the stressors they face.
This conference emphasized the importance of continued education for parents and the need to seek out support for emotional, behavioral, and learning issues. It is also vitally important to have a community that understands epilepsy and can respond in an educated manner. It is great to have an organization like the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana in our community and I hope that patients, parents, families, teachers, coaches, government officials, and the public as a whole will make use of this valuable resource.