Friday, 1 May 2009

Why raise money for the NSE?

I came across these articles from the April edition of the American edition of Newsweek magazine. Not only do they give an insight into the lives of people living with epilepsy, but they offer a call to action to raise awareness of this terrible disease, and to insist on the funding required to make the breakthroughs in understanding and treatment which will improve the lives of epilepsy sufferers and their families. The NSE helps by funding exactly this sort of cutting-edge research.

Please click on the links below to access the full articles. Otherwise, at least just read the extract below from the editorial.

"Though the most overt examples of discrimination and demonization have faded with time, epilepsy still receives too little attention, either from the medical community or the public at large. Why? One reason is that advances in drug treatments have created the popular impression that epilepsy is now an essentially manageable condition. (Which, for two thirds of patients, it is. But that still leaves a third for whom it is not.) It is thought to be rarely fatal, controllable by medication. There is a terrible irony here: because most people with epilepsy are not in a constant state of seizure—they are, rather, in perpetual but quiet danger—their condition can appear less serious than it truly is. It is all too human, but all too true, that a problem, including the problem of a serious medical affliction, stays out of mind when it is out of sight.

Because so many of those who must endure it do so valiantly, and with grace and grit, it is more difficult for those not directly affected by it to grasp that epilepsy can kill. Put harshly, we need more of a cancerlike sensibility around epilepsy. We cannot usually see our friends' cancer, but we do not hesitate to invest the search for a cure for different cancers with the utmost cultural and political importance. We must now do the same with epilepsy. "We want complete freedom from seizures," says Susan Axelrod. "We want future families to be spared what so many other families, for so many years, have endured. Lives should not be defined by diseases." No, they should not—which is why all of us must focus on understanding epilepsy. And then we must defeat it."

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