The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report on Epilepsy
Many of us who have dedicated our life’s work to helping individuals with epilepsy, have bemoaned the fact that in spite of the high numbers of individuals afflicted with this disorder, relatively little attention and funding has been directed toward this problem. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), the prestigious and non-partisan adviser to the U.S. on health issues and chartered through the National Academy of Sciences, has recently issued a landmark report that highlights the great need for much more attention and services for individuals with epilepsy.
A notable feature of the report was its emphasis on some very dramatic statistics. One staggering figure is the fact that one in every 26 of us will develop epilepsy at some point in our lives. A useful way of thinking about this is to consider a typical elementary school classroom. One can predict that on average, one pupil in the class will have epilepsy at some point in the future.
The IOM report listed specific invaluable recommendations such as the need to improve education about epilepsy for healthcare providers, improve efforts to reduce the stigma of epilepsy, and to look for ways to prevent epilepsy and the problems that arise as a result of having epilepsy. While questions remain about who will fund the enactment of these report recommendations, we can all be encouraged by this first very important step in outlining the major problems associated with epilepsy.