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Education programme ‘can improve attitudes’ of secondary school students towards epilepsy

New research has found that attitudes towards and awareness of epilepsy can be improved by teaching high school students about the condition.

The study, led by the University of Graz in Austria, aimed to investigate the knowledge and beliefs surrounding epilepsy of a group of students between the ages of 14 and 17, before developing and trialling an educational programme to improve their knowledge and attitude.

The educational programme involved three 45-minute lessons using a variety of methods and materials, and it was tested by 105  students from eight classes. A control group of 63 students from five classes, who did not receive the intervention, was included in the study for comparison.

According to the results, which are published in the journal PLoS One, students who completed the educational programme showed significantly greater improvement in knowledge, and a more positive attitude towards epilepsy and those affected, than controls.

Prior to the invention, epilepsy-related knowledge among the students was found to be highly fragmented, and characterised by beliefs and attitudes that required correction. Background medical knowledge was shown to be the area of most pronounced improvement following the programme.

The research concludes: “Our comprehensive but concise teaching unit significantly increased knowledge about epilepsy and positively influenced attitude towards individuals with epilepsy. Thus we recommend implementing this unit into regular school curricula.”