According to a new study, published in the scientific journal Epilepsia, people who are diagnosed with epilepsy in childhood or adolescence are at risk of long-term socio-economic consequences and higher personal healthcare costs.This finding is important, because it underlines the importance of raising awareness about epilepsy and emphasises the need for continued research, not only into the management of the condition, but also into ways of reducing its long-term effects.In a press release, First Author Dr Poul Jennum, at the University of Copenhagen, said: “The findings indicate that greater efforts are needed to address the long-term needs of patients with epilepsy.”Dr Jennum and colleagues used the Danish Patient Registry to identify more than 40,000 people who had been diagnosed with epilepsy before the age of 20 between 1981 and 2012. Using national administrative and health registers, they followed up just over 11,000 of these people until 30 years post-diagnosis. The team collected a range of information about the subjects, including their educational achievements, employment, income, receipt of benefits, use of healthcare services and marital status. They then compared their findings with those seen in more than 23,000 people without epilepsy, who had been carefully matched for factors such as age, gender and socioeconomic background (the controls). Matching was important to make sure that it was the epilepsy, and not another factor, that was responsible for any differences between the two groups.The researchers found that, compared to controls, the people with epilepsy tended to have a lower level of education. They were also less likely to be employed, less likely to be married, more likely to be divorced and more likely to live alone. In addition, the people with epilepsy were generally found to have lower incomes and they were more likely to receive a disability pension and social security.The authors conclude that these results call for better management of childhood onset epilepsy, not only in terms of diagnosis and treatment, but also in terms of earlier educational and social intervention in order to improve their social and health outcomes.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about epilepsy in children.Click here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.