Epilepsy affects between 50 and 75 million people in the world, 6 million in Europe, around 500 thousand in Italy and in addition to the relevant medical implications it can have an impact on psychological well-being and on the social aspects of people's lives, work, personal relationships , life quality. The causes are different and in 30% of cases the disease is drug-resistant. Taking stock on the occasion of International Epilepsy Day is the Association Fuori dall'Ombra Insieme per l'Epilessia, “for patients today there are effective treatments, help also comes from surgery, in selected cases”, underlines the Association.
“Ignorance must be defeated – states Giuseppe Zaccaria, president of the Association Fuori dall'Ombra Insieme per l'Epilepsy, on the occasion of International Epilepsy Day today – It is necessary to remove the stigma that the diagnosis of epilepsy still carries with it and which causes discrimination and mistrust in the different worlds in which people with epilepsy live; inform and update on the progress achieved in understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms of the disease and treatment options. We need to talk about epilepsy at all levels, with the affected person, with his family, at the level of civil society; it is a fundamental element to clear the pathology to eliminate the lack of knowledge that limits and has severely limited the lives of people with this disease”.
“Research in the field of epileptology has made giant strides since the middle of the last century; currently in approximately 70% of cases the available therapies are adequate – recalls the Association – allowing excellent control of epileptic seizures and a favorable prognosis However, the problem of drug resistance and relapses remain to be resolved; relapses, in particular, occur in many forms of epilepsy when therapy is suspended, even after years of regular treatment.”
In the future, we will obtain more and more therapies that act directly on the cause of epilepsy'
“In the treatment of epilepsy we are moving towards precision medicine, an increasingly individualized medicine, based on the sex, age, general condition of the patient and possibly based on the underlying cause. In the future there will indeed be new anti-seizure drugs that are more effective and have fewer and fewer side effects, but the hope is to obtain more and more therapies that act directly on the cause of epilepsy. In this sense, enormous advances are being made, for example, in the field of immunology and genetics of epilepsy – explains Stefano Sartori – pediatric neurologist and epileptologist at the Pediatric Clinic of the University Hospital of Padua – A significant share of the epilepsies that occur in childhood and pediatric age more generally it is due to genetic defects. The identification of a specific genetic basis can favor the choice of the most effective anti-crisis drugs in that specific condition and lays the foundations for future etiological therapies, which act directly on the underlying cause, as already happens in other genetically determined neurological diseases” .
“We also know more and more that epileptic seizures and epilepsies can be induced, favored or maintained by immunological mechanisms. Great attention is therefore paid to the role of neuroinflammation in epileptology. Drugs directed against neuroinflammation could represent the future of the treatment of some forms of epilepsy – adds the expert – Another aspect that remains crucial and prominent for the treatment of epilepsy is surgery which, in selected cases, can guarantee recovery from epilepsy or a significant reduction in seizures. For this reason, it is important to establish epilepsy surgery centers in the various regions for both pediatric and adult age groups. We need a shared commitment of doctors, researchers, scientific societies, hospitals, universities and companies in synergy with people affected by epilepsy, their associations and the civil world in all its components”.
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