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Worldwide Medical Insurance News: 'Lack of understanding' of epilepsy noted

International healthcare insurance policyholders with epilepsy may be some of those that face stigma and discrimination.

Research and information executive at Epilepsy Research UK Delphine van der Pauw argued that this is due to a "lack of awareness".

She said this is despite attempts by charities, carers and sufferers to enhance the public's understanding of the condition.

The expert called for politicians and other influential people to make this illness "a higher priority", ensuring that people with the ailment receive support and medical attention when required.

Research is still underway into this condition and a recent report from Taiwan indicated a link between epilepsy and schizophrenia.

Epileptics are more than eight times more likely to develop this mental health condition, while schizophrenics are almost six times as likely to begin suffering from epileptic seizures, the study, which was published in Epilepsia – a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy – found.

Other investigations have drawn up a bidirectional link between this condition and mood disorders or depression.

It is thought there is a shared susceptibility between these illnesses, which may be due to neurobiology, the environment or genetics, scientists note.

Ms Van der Pauw claimed this study confirms a relationship between the two ailments "that definitely warrants more detailed examination".

It may be possible to deal with both illnesses simultaneously once the mechanisms responsible for them are revealed, she continued.

However, the expert stated that the "increased incidences quoted in the study are still relatively low (0.35 per cent and 0.70 per cent)", so people with either epilepsy or schizophrenia should not be overly alarmed.

Lead author of the research I-Ching Chou MD, associate professor with China Medical University in the Taiwanese town of Taichung and member of China Medical University Hospital, said that "further investigation of the pathological mechanisms are needed" before the true nature of the relationship is found.

The study also discovered a slightly higher incidence of schizophrenia in males with epilepsy than in women with the same disease.

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