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Epilepsy Self-Management Tools

Research from CDC's Managing Epilepsy Well (MEW) Network finds that community-based treatments and web-based tools can improve health outcomes in people with epilepsy.

Photo: Two men playing musical instruments.One of the most common neurological disorders, epilepsy affects about 2 million people in the United States. Despite advances in treatment, many people with epilepsy continue to face difficulties managing their disorder, and they often struggle with depression and feeling isolated and stigmatized. MEW Network researchers found that a phone- and Internet-based depression treatment called UPLIFT (Using Practice and Learning to Increase Favorable Thoughts), significantly reduced depressive symptoms in adults with epilepsy. Another program, called PEARLS (Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives), was found to ease depression symptoms in people with epilepsy through 8 home-visits by trained counselors.

"These studies are major breakthroughs in mental health treatment options for people with epilepsy, and they have the potential to significantly improve quality of life for many people struggling with this disorder," explained Steven Schachter, MD, the journal's editor-in-chief and a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

A series of articles in Epilepsy & Behavior also presents studies that examined how socio-economic status may affect one's ability to manage epilepsy as well as comments from interviews with national and international experts in chronic disease self-management. In a related editorial, the authors from CDC call on the epilepsy community to help spread the word about these new programs and to support them in their local communities "to help support and empower people with epilepsy to not just live well, but to thrive."

The Managing Epilepsy Well (MEW) Network is a collaboration of individuals interested in the care of people with epilepsy and includes representatives from U.S. universities, community-based organizations, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read more about the MEW Network.


DiIorio C, Bamps Y, Edwards AL, Escoffery C, Thompson NJ, Begley CE, Shegog R, Clark NM, Selwa L, Stoll S, Fraser RT, Ciechanowski P, Johnson EK, Kobau R, Price PH. (2010) The Prevention Research Centers' Managing Epilepsy Well Network. Epilepsy & Behavior. 2010;19(3):218-24. abstract

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  • Page last reviewed: February 9, 2012 (archived document)
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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