High-Crime Neighborhood Residents Three Times as Likely to Experience Epileptic Seizures

By Yasaman Khorsandian

Over 65 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy, a chronic neurological disorder causing seizures that can be difficult to control, even with medication. Numerous studies have previously shown that individuals who live in neighborhoods with high crime rates have significantly higher levels of a hormone associated with stress, named cortisol; stress is often times considered a risk factor for people who have epilepsy because it can trigger seizures. A recent study published in Science Daily that included 63 Chicago residents with epilepsy attempted to find a correlation between number of seizures and neighborhood crime rates. The researchers used the participants’ zip codes and the City of Chicago Police Data Portal to find each individual’s neighborhood crime rate. The participants self-reported the number of seizures they had experienced in the past month and in the past three months. The study concluded from the resulting data that people living in high-crime neighborhoods experienced three times as may seizures in the previous month compared to those living in low-crime neighborhoods. The results are all the more striking because the study showed no correlation between neighborhood crime rates and the participants’ socioeconomic statuses, meaning that the fewer number of seizures in individuals living in low-crime neighborhoods cannot be linked to their easier access to medications. Epileptic seizures can significantly lower one’s quality of life, affecting an individual’s professional and personal lives; therefore, the need for understanding the correlation between the number of seizures and crime rates is a pressing matter because it might help people suffering from epilepsy manage their seizures with better education regarding stress and self-management.

University of Illinois at Chicago. (2018, December 2). Epileptics in high-crime neighborhoods have three times as many seizures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 9, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181202184348.htm