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Bright light therapy is an effective treatment for seasonal affective
disorder and non-seasonal depression. Depression and anxiety are common
psychiatric comorbidities in epilepsy.
To examine the efficacy of bright light therapy for symptoms of anxiety
and depression in adults with focal epilepsy (trial registration at
We recruited 101 adults with medically intractable focal epilepsy.
Participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)
at the beginning (T1) and end of a 12-week baseline period
(T2) and again after 12 weeks of daily light therapy
(T3), with 51 participants using a high-intensity light box
and 50 using a low-intensity one. Seizure diaries were kept throughout
the baseline and trial period.
A total of 58 patients completed the trial. Anxiety and depression scores
were significantly reduced following the light therapy at T3
in both the high- and low-intensity groups.
Light therapy resulted in a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety
and depression but we did not find any differences between high- v.
low-intensity treatment This may, therefore, be an effective treatment
for symptoms of low mood in epilepsy at lower intensities than those
typically used to treat seasonal affective disorder. Further work is
needed to investigate this possibility with an adequate placebo
Simon Shorvon, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, National Society for Epilepsy, Gerrards Cross Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire SL9 ORJ, England,
Dominic Heaney, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, National Society for Epilepsy, Gerrards Cross Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire SL9 ORJ, England
This chapter outlines and defines the epidemiology and etiology of epilepsy, and explains how these issues are closely related to the present systems of defining and classifying epilepsy. It highlights the issues particularly relevant to women. Epileptic seizures are produced by an abnormal rhythmic and repetitive discharge of neurons, either localized to a particular part of the brain (the 'focal' area) or 'generalized' throughout the whole cerebral cortex. Adults may also develop idiopathic epilepsy or epilepsy that is caused by pathologies developed in childhood. Many people suspect a genetic cause for their epilepsy and are afraid that they might pass it on to their children. The chapter describes the major techniques used to investigate epilepsy. New techniques such as single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can examine the functioning of patients' brains without the need to perform invasive surgical techniques.
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