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Thirty years of psychosocial research in epilepsy: Personal reflections of a social scientist

Published:January 06, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.12.008
      The idea for this inaugural essay and new feature for Epilepsy & Behavior (E&B) came about through a chance conversation in Stockholm in the course of which Bruce Hermann and I were chatting about my plans for retirement after 30 years of researching the psychosocial aspects of epilepsy. Reflecting on this, and on Bruce's kind invitation that I write something for E&B about my involvement in the world of epilepsy, I was reminded that my entry to it was also the result of a chance conversation — one that led Professor David Chadwick, a figure who will be very familiar to many E&B readers, then a consultant neurologist at the Walton Hospital in Liverpool, to my office door. The year was 1985, and David had just been awarded funding by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) to conduct a clinical trial of the outcomes of antiepileptic drug withdrawal in patients with epilepsy in remission; though the primary outcome of interest was relapse rate, he had been encouraged also to examine wider ‘psychosocial’ outcomes. A neurological colleague had pointed him in the direction of the research unit where I was then employed — and so began a long-time research collaboration and my enduring interest in epilepsy.
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