Annual health checks may reduce emergency hospital admissions for preventable conditions


Pauline Heslop summarises a UK primary care study that shows how emergency hospital admissions for preventable conditions can be reduced in people with learning disabilities who receive annual health checks.

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Increased risk of mortality in people with learning disabilities and epilepsy: Findings from a systematic review

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Epilepsy affects approximately 22% of people with learning disabilities, compared to approximately 1% of the general population.

Here, Silvana Mengoni looks at a systematic review of the literature investigating mortality in people with learning disabilities and epilepsy.

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Why multi-agency working, not accommodation type, is the key to better outcomes for people with epilepsy

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Around half of all people with a learning disability have epilepsy and there are significant concerns about the impact of non-compliance with prescribed medications, which is linked with increased morbidity.

In her debut blog, Jill Hughes reflects on a study which set out to see if there was a link between the living arrangements of people with learning disabilities and compliance with anti-epileptic medication regimes.

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Withdrawing sodium valproate reduced aggression in young man with learning disabilities

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There is considerable evidence that people with learning disabilities in residential settings are prescribed anti-psychotic medication to help reduce behaviours that challenge the service. However, there can be significant side effects from these powerful drugs and for some people these can be as debilitating as the impact of the behaviours. In some instances the effects [read the full story…]

For Connor: Day 62 out of #107days

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Here at the National Elf Service, we are committed to highlighting and discussing evidence based practice. Our usual approach is to focus posts around a piece of recently published research, but this post is different, responding as it is to the tragic events of last year that led to Connor Sparrowhawk’s death. Just over a [read the full story…]

Rates of psychosis in epilepsy may not be as high as previously reported, says new systematic review

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For many years, psychiatry has highlighted that people with epilepsy appear to have an elevated risk for psychosis.  However, studies exploring this relationship (of which there are many) seem to disagree on just what the prevalence of psychosis is in this group.  For example, Gudmundsson (1966) interviewed every patient with epilepsy in Iceland and concluded [read the full story…]

Psychiatric illnesses and some chronic physical illnesses are associated with an increased risk of self-harm and suicide


Last month, the Department of Health published the ‘Closing the Gap’ report, which highlighted the importance of better integration of physical and mental health care at every level. The report specifically flagged up the need for frontline services to respond better to people who self-harm, and cited statistics that emphasise the cyclical nature of the [read the full story…]

Cognitive behavioural therapy used as treatment for psychogenic non-epileptic seizures in woman with learning disabilities

How important is social support in preventing depression?

Non-epileptic seizures can have a major impact on the quality of life of people affected. Those with an organic, physical cause may be relatively easy to diagnose, and if the underlying cause can be found, it may of course be amenable to treatment and if that treatment is successful, the seizures may stop. Some seizures [read the full story…]

Psychiatric comorbidity increases the risk of premature mortality in epilepsy


There is a back to school feeling in the air in the Woodland this week, and so this comes to you with the help of my shiny new yellow pencil case. Epilepsy affects around 70 million people around the world and premature mortality is substantial with almost half of epilepsy-related deaths occuring in those younger [read the full story…]