Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Epilepsy: Overlooked and underfunded too long

April 13th, 2009

Lauren Axelrod (seated), with mother Susan and father David, Newsweek photoA ‘Call to Action’ — Newsweek cover story by Jon Meacham, the magazine’s editor

Epilepsy in America is as common as breast cancer and kills as many people. Up to 50,000 Americans die each year from seizures and related causes. More than 3 million Americans are affected by epilepsy. Their mortality is two to three times higher — and the risk of sudden death is 24 times greater — than that of the general population.

Yet funding for epilepsy research lags far behind other neurological conditions, at $35 per patient annually (compared with $129 for Alzheimer’s and $280 for multiple sclerosis.)

“It is time to remedy that gap, and to raise epilepsy to the front ranks of public and medical concern,” Meacham says … “All of us must focus on understanding epilepsy. And then we must defeat it.”

Related first-person essay by Susan Axelrod, wife of senior presidential adviser David Axelrod. Their 27-year-old daughter Lauren was diagnosed with epilepsy at 7 months. (Family photo above.) An excerpt:

We must accelerate research efforts in the field now and address this age-old problem with the urgency and intensity that it merits.

… Until society … recognizes epilepsy as the serious health problem that it truly is, progress will continue to lag. Too many young brains will be forever affected. Too many lives will be lost.

See also in Newsweek:

Epilepsy in America: What must be done

Epilepsy: Life on the front lines

(Photo from Newsweek)

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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