MARCH IS EPILEPSY AWARENESS MONTH!
Today, 42 Canadians will learn that they have epilepsy. Approximately 300,000 Canadians now live with this neurological disorder; a condition that causes sudden bursts of hyperactivity in the brain and reveals itself in the form of seizures.
Would you be surprised to that there are twice as many Canadians living with epilepsy as with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis-- combined? Due to the stigma that surrounds epilepsy, many with the disorder have been reluctant to speak out about it. As a result it has been dubbed "The Silent Disorder". March is Epilepsy Month, a good time to break the silence.
Dr. W. McIntyre (Mac) Burnham, President of Epilepsy Canada and a member of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Toronto, is one of the leaders in the fight to find a cure for epilepsy. He says that research efforts are showing promise for new ways to treat and manage the condition. "I can point to three specific areas where there is reason for hope," he said. "Several new anticonvulsant drugs have been introduced in the past few years which are proving to be successful in managing many patients' conditions. Clinical trials of new dietary supplements are moving forward: if successful these hold the promise of providing new options for controlling seizures through diet. And advances are being made in the use of Deep Brain Stimulation to control seizures. "
Epilepsy Canada is the only national organization in Canada with the mission to enhance the quality of life for persons affected by epilepsy through the promotion and funding of research and education. It receives no government funding and relies entirely on private and corporate donations to achieve its goals. Each year, Epilepsy Canada awards research grants to doctors and students, to advance our knowledge about epilepsy with over 57 cents of every dollar donated going directly to research. The balance is used for education and administration.
Dr. Burnham said, "During Epilepsy Awareness Month we invite all Canadians to break the silence that surrounds epilepsy and learn more about it by visiting our website or connecting to us on Facebook or Twitter" Adding, "We also hope they ask, 'How can I help in the effort to find a cure?' More research is required and that means we need more funds."