World Epilepsy Day: Beware of Unwashed Vegetables

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17th is observed as World Epilepsy Day .Eplilepsy is the commonest serious neurological disorder; prevalence figures ranging from 2 to 5 per thousand people.The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 10% of people have a seizure at some point in their lifetime, with 50 million suffering from active epilepsy. A study conducted by the Christian Medical College in Vellore in 2006 estimated that neurocysticercosis is the cause of nearly one-third of all the cases of active epilepsy in both urban and rural regions of Vellore. The study estimated that "about 1 million patients in India with active epilepsy attributable to neurocysticercosis''.

Neurocysticercosis is a condition in which parasitic tapeworms, from contaminated water and food, find their into the brain of an unsuspecting individual. The colony of tapeworms, which are breed in the brain, can trigger headaches, epilepsy, imbalance and even sudden death. On National Epilepsy Day on Tuesday, most doctors feel the battle against epilepsy can be won to a great extent if two of the preventable causes, namely birth injuries and neurocysticercosis, are dealt with firmly and effectively.

Neurocysticercosis is caused by ingestion of undercooked food, such as pork or vegetables grown in fecally-contaminated water or near sewage tanks. "People don't wash vegetables or sometimes eat undercooked pork. Tapeworm eggs that could be present in these items get injested into the body and find their way to the brain,'' said Dr Praveena Shah, who runs the city's E-Cell and is attached to Wockhardt Hospital in Mulund.

About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, with almost 90% of these people being in developing countries. Epilepsy is more likely to occur in young children, or people over the age of 65 years, however it can occur at any time. Epilepsy is usually controlled, but not cured, with medication, although surgery may be considered in difficult cases. However, over 30% of people with epilepsy do not have seizure control even with the best available medications. Not all epilepsy syndromes are lifelong – some forms are confined to particular stages of childhood. Epilepsy should not be understood as a single disorder, but rather as syndromic with vastly divergent symptoms but all involving episodic abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Posted by Wockhardt Hospitals at 2:31 AM  


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