KTTU "In Focus," Sunday, 7/24/11, 10:30 AM & KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 7/31/11, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter


Host Bob Lee interviews Dr. David M. Labiner, Department Head, UA College of Medicine Department of Neurology and Dr. Jenny Chong, research professor, UA College of Medicine Department of Neurology.

About 10% of Americans will experience a seizure sometime during their lives. About 3% will receive a diagnosis of epilepsy by age 80. The U of A researchers were recently award a 1.6-million dollar grant to study the incidence of newly-diagnosed epilepsy among seniors in southeastern Arizona.

Labiner says children younger than age 2 and adults older than age 65 are particularly vulnerable to epilepsy because the risk factors are more common in these age groups. He says the incidence of epilepsy in adults over the age of 75 is at least double that of children. He says the cases among older Americans are increasing because people are living longer. Chong says they are focusing on newly diagnosed epilepsy among seniors.  She says the goal is to measure the incidence of epilepsy across ethnic groups and identify factors that predict clinical outcomes.  She says study participants are being recruited through area agencies on aging, hospitals and private clinics in Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz Counties. Some participants will also have a family member taking part in the study.

Labiner says the four-year study should give physicians and researchers a better understanding of the impact of epilepsy on seniors’ quality of life and mental health, and the burden of epilepsy on the health system, including caregivers.