Discussion with Samuel Wiebe, MD, about the Relationship Between Neuro-infections and Epilepsy

December 8, 2008
Keli Rising

Lately there has been a lot of research discussing the problem of neuro-infections and how they can lead to people to have seizures I was fortunate enough to talk with Samuel Wiebe, MD, director of the University of Calgary Epilepsy Program and chair of the North American Commission of International League Against Epilepsy, about this topic.

Lately there has been a lot of research discussing the problem of neuro-infections and how they can lead to people to have seizures I was fortunate enough to talk with Samuel Wiebe, MD, director of the University of Calgary Epilepsy Program and chair of the North American Commission of International League Against Epilepsy, about this topic. He explains that neuro-infection is the second most common cause of epilepsy worldwide, and to think that they are preventable through education and basic hygiene. Diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and neurocysticercosis are becoming serious problems regarding the increased number of people with epilepsy or other seizure disorders. Wiebe says that a major campaign is being launched by the WHO to decrease or eradicate neuro-infections worldwide by 2015.

It is important to validate tests to diagnose conditions, create ways to assess the course and response, identify prognostic factors, make treatment accessible to those who need them, and education—get the message out. When asked about why there has been an increase in neuro-infectious diseases in North America, Wiebe did not hesitate with his response being immigration; he also said produce may be attributing to the outbreaks as well. He says that his answer is difficult to say because minority patients are becoming increasingly sensitive regarding the amount of research and information coming out saying that they are at a much higher risk of developing diseases a, b, or c.

Wiebe is a co-chair of the “Epilepsy Around the World: Neuro-infections” symposium, which features a panel of international experts to address the challenges and impact of neuro-infections. He said that the symposium is essentially a “call to action.” It is important that neurologists are aware of these problems and figure out how to get the message out. When asked for his opinion on how to get the message out to patients, Wiebe says that it has to start with advocacy and he believes that European and North American countries should take the lead in getting the word out.

Click here to download interview as an mp3.