May 26, 2020

Genetic Epilepsies and COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons from the Caregiver Perspective

Abstract, published in Epilepsia

The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented international crisis with significant health, economic, and social consequences. This scenario has forced the medical community to face new practical and ethical challenges that require rapid responses. Early data show a variety of neurological manifestations in a significant proportion of patients who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus, although there is little documentation of the effects on people with epilepsy.

In this study, the research team assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in a particularly vulnerable population: individuals with genetic developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs), which comprise a group of brain disorders, and their caregivers. Although children appear to present milder COVID-19 manifestations, patients with DEEs present an increased susceptibility to certain triggers related to viral infections and respiratory comorbidities, are at risk of missing medical follow-up and emergency assistance due to health care resource allocation focus on COVID-19 patients, and are exposed to broader sociopsychological impact related to lockdown.

Therefore, this study evaluates the impact of the pandemic on patients with genetic DEEs and their caregivers in Spain, one of the current hotspots of the pandemic.

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