Epilepsy the global burden of the disease

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterised by the risk of recurrent seizures (1). Epileptic seizures may vary from brief and undetectable seizures to long periods of vigorous shaking (2). In a developed country around 4 to 5 per 1000 persons has epilepsy (3). The risk of epilepsy increases with increase in age(5,6). According to the World Health Organization, the disability caused by epilepsy accounts for about 0.5% of the global burden of the disease measured by disability-adjusted life-years. As a result of this epilepsy ranks just after psychiatric conditions. The global health care burden of epilepsy comparable to that of breast or lung cancer(4).                                      Social acceptance of people with epilepsy largely depends upon the population’s ideas and is often a considerable problem for the patients and their families. Yet people are still socially discriminated due to, misunderstandings by widespread negative attitudes and defensive behaviour. This can affect people economically, socially and culturally (7). In India and China epilepsy is used a justification to deny marriage(2). People in some region believe that epilepsy is a demonic possession(8). People in Tanzania and few parts of Africa epilepsy is associated with evil spirit, witchcraft, or poisoning, and it is believed to be contagious(9), for which there is no evidence(10). In United Kingdom, before 1970s, there were laws that prevented epileptic patients from getting married. It also brings about a feeling of shame among the patients that most of them deny to accept they have a seizure(10-13).                                           Negative attitude towards patients with epilepsy by the health care workers is particularly important because that can affect the provision of treatment given by them to this patient population. Hence for a dentists, who represent one of the highly educated and influential groups in the society, their perspectives about patients with epilepsy have a greater impact on their professional interactions with them(14). Several studies have been done assessing the knowledge and attitude of common people, teachers and other professional.Studies among health care workers reveal that dental care professionals have a generally negative attitude towards patients with epilepsy(15). Assessing the knowledge and attitude towards epilepsy among dental students is important as they represent the future work force in the field of dentistry.                                           Therefore the purpose of the present study is to assess the knowledge, attitude and awareness among dental students towards patients with epilepsy. The findings from the present study would help in finding the defect in knowledge about epilepsy and about the factors that might influence their attitude towards epileptic patients.


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