New Delhi: Certain pre-emptive steps could lead to the prevention of Epilepsy which affects the health and quality of life of more than 10 million people in India, doctors have found in a recent study here.
According to the department of Neurology at the AIIMS, certain fraction of epilepsies which are not responsive to drugs are very much preventable if approached in a pre-emptive way.
This was recorded while a study was conducted on medically refractory epilepsy (epilepsies that do not respond to two or more medications).
Epilepsy is characterised by seizures or fits. Symptoms vary from person to person. Some people may have simple staring spells, while others have violent shaking and loss of alertness and consciousness injuries and falls.
Over 30 percent of people with epilepsy (PWE) do not have seizure control even with two or more of the best available medications.
"We found that infections (meningitis, encephalitis, etc) specially in childhood which contribute to the cause of epilepsy if taken care could prevent the bad form of epilepsy," Additional Professor at the department of neurology, AIIMS, Dr Manjari Tripathi said.
"Problems to the new born child during delivery which leads to birth hypoxia are also very much preventable, in fact they are within our reach and they must be addressed at a war footing. A major cause of seizures in India also is Neurocysticercosis which occurs due to poor food hygiene and poor personal hygiene."
This study has been published in the European Journal of Epilepsy - Seizure.
Head injuries due to lack of safe driving practices also account for a large chunk of refractory epilepsy, she added.
The study was done to identify the indicators of refractory epilepsy in the North Indian population attending a tertiary care centre. 400 people with epilepsy (PWE) were studied.
"The odds of having refractory epilepsy were 11 times higher if there was a perinatal insult (decreased oxygen to brain during delivery) and about eight times higher if there was a past hisory of neurological infections. Both these factors are preventable," Dr Tripathi said detailing about the finding of the study.
These observations would also be useful in selecting patients early for evaluation in northern India where a high surgical treatment gap exists, she said.
The diagnosis of epilepsy sadly to this date carries stigma, discrimination and fear in most people and this affects treatment seeking behaviour in patients, she added.