Having a sibling with epilepsy affects children both positively and negatively, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Epilepsy in Huston, Texas.In a press release, Study Lead Dr Barbara Kroner, at RTI International, said: “We found very few disapproving feelings among siblings toward their brothers and sisters with epilepsy. The negative feelings they had were more internal, showing they were sad for or worried about them.”For the study, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, the researchers recruited 69 children with epilepsy who had an unaffected sibling who was at least four years old. They asked the caregivers of the children with epilepsy to complete a survey about their child’s condition and its impact on the family.The results showed that children who had witnessed their sibling have a seizure (around 61%) were more likely to worry about seizures, think that their sibling was suffering or feeling pain from a seizure, and be proud and protective of their sibling. Having witnessed a seizure was also associated with a negative school performance.Siblings who worried about seizures (almost half) were also significantly more likely to think their sibling felt pain during a seizure, have their academic performance impacted by epilepsy, and be protective of their sibling. In addition, they were more likely to feel sad.A little more than 10% of siblings felt angry, less than 3% felt embarrassed, 7.2% wanted to keep epilepsy a secret, and 13% complained about a lack of attention from their parents.According to the authors, siblings might benefit from education about seizures to reduce negative feelings and impact on school performance. “It’s important to help siblings understand what is happening during a seizure and how the child feels, which will help relieve some of that anxiety,” Dr Kroner said.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.