Epilepsy in the News
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Kampala Records More Epilepsy Cases
©The Monitor, Kampala
John Ricks Kayizzi
November 9, 2001

Five out of every 100 Ugandans have experienced a speck of epilepsy at one time in their lives. " In Uganda, epilepsy is one of the commonest diseases known to affect the brain, " said Dr. Matovu Muwonge, from the Department of Medicine, Mulago Hospital.

He said that inspite of its long history and relative frequency, it is an illness that is still shrouded in mystery for many people and arouses fear, anger, despair and other strong negative emotions and attitudes in its patients and their relatives. Patients with the disease are discriminated against and this is mainly due to the incorrect belief that they are helpless, mentally retarded or psychologically disturbed. "Ignorance of what epilepsy is and what can be done about it seems to be at the root of the problem," he said in a statement issued recently.

Dr. Matovu said that to understand epilepsy, one must look at the brain like a generator which produces electricity that enables us to perform complex activities. "For some reason which may or may not be due to brain disease, some cells of the brain may suddenly put out too much electricity causing abnormal movements, behaviour, mental and emotional activities. This momentarily shuts out the rest of the brain," he said, adding that this abnormal activity is what is called an epileptic seizure or fit.

Copyright © 2001 The Monitor. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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