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300,000 epilepsy patients in Sri Lanka

Publication Date : 16-07-2014


Consultant neurologist Prof Ranjanee Gamage revealed that there were 300,000 epilepsy patients ––nine per every 1000 persons––in Sri Lanka.

"According to medical research conducted on the nature of the disease, epilepsy was not an obstacle in achieving success in life," she said at a media conference held at the health education bureau.

Consultant paediatric neurologist Dr Pyara Ratnayake said that epilepsy commonly manifested itself during school years and adolescence.

The cause of that condition was brief, abnormal and electrical hyperactivity of the brain.

Dr Ratnayake added that some Sri Lankans were under the impression that epilepsy was a mental illness and that children suffering from epilepsy were mentally retarded.

Others assumed that epilepsy to be contagious. There were also beliefs that epilepsy was caused by unseen forces such as evil spirits.

Dr Ratnayake said it was also believed that there was no treatment available for the disease.

While some believed it could be cured with the help of occult practices. Still there were some people who mistakely believed that seizures could be stopped by placing a piece of iron in the patient’s hands or pouring certain oil or goats’ urine into his or her mouth.

In most instances epilepsy could be cured or controlled. The psychosocial disability caused by this illness was much more than the disability caused by epilepsy itself, she said.


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