LANDOVER, Md., Oct. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Epilepsy Foundation challenges the nation to recognize the brain as the source of seizures and as the source of the solution to End Epilepsy with the launch of a new action and awareness campaign — "Let's Use Our Brains to End Epilepsy®." The dynamic multi-year campaign urges everyone to think about epilepsy and seizures differently. Until now, epilepsy has been very misunderstood, underfunded, and underrecognized, endangering the lives and well-being of the 3.4 million people in the U.S. living with active epilepsy.
Let's Use Our Brains to End Epilepsy is a nationwide call to action to rally everyone — including actors Greg Grunberg, John O'Hurley, reality TV star Rick Harrison, and graffiti artist Saber —to End Epilepsy. The campaign will be supported by all of the Foundation's efforts in public awareness, education, advocacy, research, and community services.
"Epilepsy can affect anyone with a brain, and anyone with a brain can positively affect epilepsy," said Philip M. Gattone, M.Ed., president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. "Sadly, the public has been hard-wired to avoid epilepsy. Let's Use our Brains to End Epilepsy will help the general public understand the connection between epilepsy and the brain. Our hope is that the campaign will rewire the fight-or-flight reaction when seeing someone have a seizure and replace it with empathy and informed action."
Public misunderstanding about epilepsy causes social challenges like bullying, discrimination, and depression. People don't want to talk about it, but it can no longer be ignored. Over a lifetime, one in 10 people will have a seizure, and one in 26 will be diagnosed with epilepsy. There are more people living with epilepsy than with autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, combined. Yet, epilepsy receives one-tenth the research funding than any one of those neurological disorders.
Let's Use Our Brains to End Epilepsy shifts the conversation from ignorance to understanding, and puts an end to the misunderstanding, silence, and lack of funding for epilepsy care, research and advocacy. A major component of the campaign is promoting seizure recognition and educating people on how to administer seizure first aid. People with epilepsy are 30 percent more likely to have accidental injuries related to their seizures as compared to the general population. By knowing seizure first aid, people can help to decrease injuries.
"Thousands of people in the United States die each year from seizures and seizure-related causes," said Jacqueline French, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer at the Epilepsy Foundation and Professor of Neurology at NYU Langone Health's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. "For people living with epilepsy, one of the most difficult aspects of seizures is their unpredictable nature. Anyone can have a seizure; seizures can happen anywhere, anytime. It is imperative that everyone learns seizure first aid. A public educated in seizure first aid can help prevent injuries and help save lives."
The campaign, which features 14 real people with diverse stories of epilepsy, leverages television, print, outdoor, digital and a new website to give a voice to the stories of people with epilepsy, caregivers and those who have lost a loved one to epilepsy and seizures. The Foundation is also taking steps to rally everyone to make a difference in the lives of millions and share how they are using their brains to End Epilepsy.
Acting together, everyone can use their brains to change the way people think about epilepsy and seizures. The Foundation is asking everyone to use their brains to End Epilepsy and take action by visiting EndEpilepsy.org and following the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. People can also show their support by downloading a poster to share how they are using their brain to End Epilepsy. The campaign's public service announcement is available on the EndEpilepsy YouTube channel.
According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide with no age, racial, social class, national or geographic boundaries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.4 million people in the United States are affected by epilepsy. It is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
With a network of nearly 50 partners throughout the United States, the Foundation connects people to treatment, support and resources; leads advocacy efforts; funds innovative research and the training of specialists; and educates the public about epilepsy and seizure first aid. For more than five decades, the Epilepsy Foundation has shone a light on epilepsy to promote awareness and understanding, and to advocate for laws that matter to people with epilepsy, while also funding $65 million for epilepsy research and supporting 3,076 epilepsy investigators and specialists in their early careers. Over the past 17 years, in partnership with the CDC, the Epilepsy Foundation has helped to improve access to care for people with epilepsy, expanded its digital reach and online resources in homes across the country, and trained more than 500,000 school and community personnel in how to recognize seizures and administer Seizure First Aid. The Foundation has also assisted more than 108,000 people through its 24/7 Helpline in the past five years, and continues to focus on innovation, new therapies, community services, advocacy and education as key priorities. To learn more visit epilepsy.com or call 1.800.332.1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE Epilepsy Foundation