Increased risk of epilepsy following a brain injury
Head injuries affect almost 1 million people a year in the UK, nearly half a million of whom are kids. Such an injury can leave those affected severely disabled by neurological disorders, including epilepsy. A new study has shown that this risk of epilepsy continues for more than a decade after a serious brain injury.
Scientists believe that patients could benefit from treatment designed to prevent seizures even years after the accident. Epilepsy currently affects around 400,000 people in Britain.
Given the scale of the problem, it is somewhat surprising that the UK suffers from a worrying under provision of Neuro Units, Neurologists and Neurosurgeons. Of the 20,000 Consultant Specialists in the UK, only 140 are neurosurgeons and there are about 500 neurologists. Therefore, only 15% of head injury victims are actually admitted to hospital and fewer than 5% of these ever see a Specialist.
Neurological research represents one of the most ground breaking frontiers of modern medicine and money spent on this area will deliver more from the laboratory into the ward than it will in any other field of medicine.
The Brain & Spine Foundation (BSF) is a charity at the forefront of this area, providing much needed support to the victims, families and carers of those affected by a neurological disorder. Practical assistance is provided in the form of a telephone helpline and a comprehensive web based information service, free and available nationwide. Training is provided by BSF to front line doctors as well as investing in research programmes and training for researchers.
The BSF receives no Government funding and is entirely dependent on charitable donations. It currently raises a little over £500,000 per year compared to £50 million for the British Heart Foundation and £100 million to cancer UK.