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Reasons for discrepancy between incidence and prevalence of epilepsy in lower income countries: Epilepsia's survey results.

  • Author(s): Mathern, Gary W
  • Beninsig, Laurie
  • Nehlig, Astrid
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1111/epi.12846
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: From July to August 2014, Epilepsia conducted an online survey seeking opinions that explained the discrepancy between the incidence and prevalence of epilepsy in lower income countries. Data on cumulative incidence suggest a higher rate of active epilepsy than reported in lifetime prevalence surveys. This study reports the findings of that poll addressing the proposal in our Controversy in Epilepsy series that it could be from increased death rates. METHODS: The survey consisted of a question addressing possible reasons to explain the discrepancy between the incidence and prevalence of epilepsy. Another four questions addressed demographic information. RESULTS: There were 34 responders who completed the survey. Half (50%) of the responders felt that the discrepancy between cumulative incidence and lifetime prevalence was due to lack of uniform definitions and misclassification of patients in study design, 23.5% said the discrepancy was due to a higher mortality from diseases and conditions such as trauma and infections associated with epilepsy, 23.5% indicated that the stigma of epilepsy prevented people from acknowledging their disease in prevalence surveys, and 2.9% felt it was from poor access to qualified medical personal and utilization of medical treatments that increased death rates directly related to epilepsy. SIGNIFICANCE: Within the limitations of sample size, the results of this survey support that the discrepancy between the incidence and prevalence of epilepsy in lower income regions of the world is due to problems in acquiring the data and stigma rather than higher mortality from diseases associated with epilepsy and repeated seizures.

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