Editorial: Reducing stigma by changing the name of epilepsy


People with epilepsy are affected by the stigma of having this disease in numerous ways including social and legal barriers. Another way to stigmatize epilepsy is through how the disease is termed in different languages. In this issue of Epilepsia, Kim et al. describe how seizures and epilepsy are associated with being crazy in many Asian languages, and the efforts of the Korean Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) to change the official name of epilepsy to a more scientific and neutral term.

This raises the question of just how often seizures and epilepsy are used in a derogatory manner that enhances stigma in different parts of the world with numerous languages. So, Epilepsia would like to start a list. Please write us and let us know if the words for seizure and epilepsy enhance the stigma of the disease in your dialect and culture. Provide the English transliteration of the word, the local written word, its meaning, and the region and location where this is spoken. Send your information to epilepsia@epilepsia.com. We will keep this open until (1 May 2014) and provide a full list in a later issue of Epilepsia.