11. 02. 2019

About 80,000 patients in the Czech Republic suffer from active epilepsy. This means they have had at least one epileptic seizure in the last five years. Each year, about 5,000 new patients are diagnosed. The aim of the International Epilepsy Day, commemorated on Monday, February 11th, is to promote awareness of this disorder, including the proper first aid which might save the life of the patient.

Epilepsy is the most frequent chronic brain disorder. It manifests through epileptic seizures, whose outward signs can be subtle, such as sudden cease of activity or disturbances of consciousness. Other seizures can be dramatic, such as falling to the ground and being affected with severe spasms.

“Unfortunately, proper first aid in seizures is still surrounded by many myths. Misguided ideas include opinions that it is necessary to bodily press the patient to the ground or put a stick between their teeth. What can actually save their life is to remove any objects that might hurt them, place something soft under their head, loosen the clothes around their throat and not restrain them in any way,” says Přemysl Jiruška from the Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, who deals with research of epilepsy, its causes and mechanisms of seizures.

“Of paramount importance is, of course, intensive research and swift transfer of knowledge into medicinal care. In cooperation with the Czech Academy of Sciences, this has been accomplished for example in the recently opened research centre EPIREC at the Motol University Hospital,” says Eva Zažímalová, President of the CAS.

The International Day is an excellent opportunity to promote education in the matter of epilepsy. This is also one of the reasons why the Czech Academy of Sciences collaborates closely with organisations of patients Epistop and Společnost E, which has prepared educational videos on the topic of first aid during a seizure:

Original Czech text prepared by: Markéta Růžičková, Department of Media Communication of the Head Office of the CAS
Illustration: Radek Janča, Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University