‘Steep decline’ in child epilepsy
The variety of children being diagnosed with epilepsy has dropped dramatically within the UK over the last decade, figures show.
A study of GP-recorded diagnoses show the incidence has fallen by up to half.
Researchers said fewer children were being misdiagnosed, but there had also been a true decrease in some causes of the condition.
Other European countries and the united states had reported similar declines, they added.
Epilepsy is caused when the brain’s normal electrical activity bring about seizures.
Data from greater than 344,000 children showed that the once a year incidence of epilepsy has fallen by 4-9% year on year between 1994 and 2008.
Overall the collection of children born between 2003-2005 with epilepsy was 33% lower then those born in 1994-96.
When researchers looked in additional detail and included a much wider range of possible indicators of an epilepsy diagnosis the incidence dropped by 47%.
Better use of specialist services and increased caution over diagnosing the condition explains some, but not all, of the decline within the condition, the researchers reported in Archives of Diseases in Childhood.
Introduction of vaccines against meningitis and a drop inside the collection of children with traumatic brain injuries, either one of that could cause epilepsy, has probably also contributed to falling cases, they added.
Study author Prof Ruth Gilbert, director of the Centre for Evidence-based Child Health at University College London, said: “The drop is in keeping with what have been seen in other countries so this is reassuring that we’re seeing an identical pattern.
“We’re recuperating at diagnosing and deciding who must be treated after which there’s also probably an affect of things like fewer cases of meningitis.”
She said earlier, there has been a subject with variable diagnosis and a few children being treated who didn’t must be.
“There’s a more rigorous approach and that’s partly all the way down to NICE guidance.
“It is rather troubling to have a misdiagnosis because upon getting a diagnosis it sticks and that does blight the lifetime of a kid.”
Simon Wigglesworth, deputy chief executive at Epilepsy Action, said: “It could indicate a discount in misdiagnosis rates in children, which we all know to be high. However, our discussions with leading clinicians suggest that this won’t be the total picture.
“They let us know that they’re not seeing a discount within the variety of children with epilepsy presenting at their clinics and epilepsy remains the most prevalent neurological conditions in children within the UK.”