Saturday, November 5, 2011

November Epilepsy Awareness: 30 facts in 30 days

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month and in the spirit of education and awareness, I am posting 30 Facts in 30 Days to Robert’s Sister Facebook page and Twitter (follow @robertsssister1).

Here’s our first week of facts:
Fact 1:  The numbers: Epilepsy is the 3rd most common neurological disorder behind Alzheimer’s Disease and Stroke.  Yes, the 3rd most common!  2 – 3 million people living in the United States and 50 million worldwide have epilepsy.  One of them is my brother.  Who do you know with Epilepsy? 

Fact 2:  Seizures can be as simple as what looks like a brief lapse in attention to muscle spasms or convulsions.  
With Robert’s permission, I filmed him having a seizure which you can watch here. Robert doesn’t have convulsions but he gets a little protective of his dinner when he’s coming out of the seizure (and I try to make sure the plate doesn't end up on the floor!) :-)  He was praying when this seizure started.  

Fact 3:  Did you know epilepsy affects more people than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease combined?  Yes, COMBINED! (Thanks to for that fact).  Research dollars for epilepsy pale in comparison to research money available for these other conditions. I don't want to take away money from other groups but can epilepsy get a little bit more, please?
Fact 4: Epilepsy can develop at any age and can be a result of genetics, stroke, head injury and many other factors. Need more info about epilepsy? Visit

Fact 5: A new biography suggests Vincent Van Gogh had Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Others with epilepsy include actors Bud Abbott (of Abbott & Costello – look it up kids!), Danny Glover (from 15 – 35), Margaux Hemingway (granddaughter of Ernest); a Pope (Pius IX); royalty (Prince John); a former congressman (Tony Coelho) and musicians (Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys and Prince). Harriet Tubman, Socrates and Julius Caesar are thought to have had it as well. Robert (and everyone else with epilepsy) is in good company!
What do you know about epilepsy?  Please share your facts in the comment section so we can spread the word about epilepsy together – more awareness may create more funding for research! 

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