Knowledge of medical students about epilepsy: Need for a change
Purpose: Though most doctors in their professional life will provide care for people with epilepsy, many will not get further training in their professional life. There may be other barriers, perceived or not, to providing care to people living with epilepsy by doctors which need to be approached in the medical undergraduate curriculum and medical continuing education. The aim of this study was to determine the knowledge gaps of medical students on basic issues regarding epilepsy that could be useful in preparing training material for the students and continuous medical education for doctors working in the community.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional and descriptive study was carried out in one of the medical schools in Enugu metropolis. Data collection was done using a semi-structured validated questionnaire.
Results: Seizure was regarded as a movement disorder by 10.3% of the students. The rank of causes of epilepsy given by respondents was brain injury (88%), brain tumor (87%) genetics (62.3%), and strokes (55.1%). Significantly more students who did neurology posting correctly answered that stroke is a risk factor (P < 0.001), disagreed that sleep deprivation is a risk factor (P = 0.04), and recognized different seizure types (P < 0.001–0.002). The mean score was 17.8 ± 2.3% (71.2 ± 9.2%); significantly higher in those who did neurology posting. Students scored lowest on questions regarding risk factors and duration of treatment.
Conclusion: The content of medical curriculum in Africa should emphasize not only the content of lectures on epilepsy but also the need for students to go through neurology posting during their training. The outcome would be both better knowledge and improved physician–patient relations.
Keywords: Epilepsy, knowledge, medical students, Nigeria