Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parasites and poor antenatal care are main causes of epilepsy in Africa

Date:
January 31, 2013
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
The largest study of epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa to date reveals that programs to control parasitic diseases and access to better antenatal care could substantially reduce the prevalence of the disease in this region.

An EEG recording.
Credit: C Newton

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions worldwide, and it is well known that it is significantly more prevalent in poorer countries and rural areas. The study of more than half a million people in five countries of sub-Saharan Africa is the first to reveal the true extent of the problem and the impact of different risk factors.

Related Articles


The study -- conducted at International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH) demographic surveillance sites in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana -- screened 586 607 residents and identified 1711 who were diagnosed as having active convulsive epilepsy.

These individuals, along with 2033 who did not have epilepsy, were given a questionnaire to complete about their lifestyle habits. The team also took blood samples to test for exposure to malaria, HIV and four other parasitic diseases that are common in low-income countries.

The team found that adults who had been exposed to parasitic diseases were 1.5 to 3 times more likely to have epilepsy than those who had not. Epilepsy has previously been linked with various parasite infections, but this is the first study to reveal the extent of the problem.

Professor Charles Newton from the Wellcome Trust programme at the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University, who led the study, said: "This study demonstrates that many cases of epilepsy could be entirely preventable with elimination of parasites in Africa, some of which -- for example, onchocerciasis -- have been controlled in some areas. In some areas the incidence of epilepsy could be reduced by 30-60 per cent with appropriate control measures."

In children, the greatest risk factors for developing epilepsy were complications associated with delivery and head injury. Interventions to improve antenatal and perinatal care could substantially reduce the prevalence of epilepsy in this region, say the authors.

The study focused on people with convulsive epilepsies as they are the most reliably detected and reported and there remains a substantial stigma attached to patients with the disease.

"Facilities for diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of epilepsy are virtually non-existent in many of the world's poorest regions, so it's vital that we take these simple steps to try and prevent as many cases of this debilitating disease as possible," Professor Newton added.

The study was funded by the Wellcome Trust, with support from the University of the Witwatersrand and the South African Medical Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anthony K Ngugi, Christian Bottomley, Immo Kleinschmidt, Ryan G Wagner, Angelina Kakooza-Mwesige, Kenneth Ae-Ngibise, Seth Owusu-Agyei, Honorati Masanja, Gathoni Kamuyu, Rachael Odhiambo, Eddie Chengo, Josemir W Sander, Charles R Newton. Prevalence of active convulsive epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa and associated risk factors: cross-sectional and case-control studies. The Lancet Neurology, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70003-6

Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "Parasites and poor antenatal care are main causes of epilepsy in Africa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131084653.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2013, January 31). Parasites and poor antenatal care are main causes of epilepsy in Africa. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131084653.htm
Wellcome Trust. "Parasites and poor antenatal care are main causes of epilepsy in Africa." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131084653.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins