Study Proves Epilepsy and Likelihood of Committing Violent Crime not Linked

A new study is showing that having epilepsy is not directly linked to a higher chance of patients committing violent crimes. This finding challenges the preconceived notions of many experts and people in the general population who believe such a link exists.

According to the Swedish study, while there is a risk that people who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury will eventually commit a violent crime, that link doesn’t increase with epilepsy, which is also a condition of the brain. The large study, which was led by Seena Fazel from the University of Oxford, UK, and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, and Swedish Prison and Probation Service, has the authors stating that “The implications of these findings will vary for clinical services, the criminal justice system, and patient charities.”

For the study, researchers monitored information about people who have epilepsy and/or have suffered from a traumatic brain injury. The information was gathered from data that was recorded in Sweden between 1973 and 2009. Researchers then matched each case with ten people in the general population that didn’t have either of those conditions. Next the researchers linked those records with subsequent information about convictions for violent crime by using the identification numbers that help to identify Swedish residents in national registries.

The researchers found that “4.2 percent of people with epilepsy had at least one conviction for violence after their diagnosis compared to 2.5 percent of the general population.” However, it should be noted that when the epileptic patients’ behavior was compared to their non-epileptic siblings, the link between epilepsy and the committing of a violent crime didn’t exist.

“With over 22,000 individuals each for the epilepsy and traumatic brain injury groups, the sample was, to our knowledge, more than 50 times larger than those used in previous related studies on epilepsy, and more than seven times larger than previous studies on brain injury,” the authors note.

The results of this study were published in the final week of December’s PLoS Medicine. While there are medications like Topamax that are used to help treat epileptic patients, the stigma that they are all “violent” might finally go away with the results of this study. Topamax is an anti-seizure medication that has been linked to birth defects in babies whose mothers took the drug while pregnant. The birth defects linked to Topamax include oral clefts, cleft palate, PPHN and neural tube defects. If your baby was born with birth defects after being exposed to Topamax, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and might be able to help you get the money that you are entitled to.

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