People with epilepsy living in high crime neighborhoods in Chicago had three times as many seizures as those living in neighborhoods with lower crime rates, according to new research from the University of Illinois at Chicago presented at the American Epilepsy Society 2018 conference in New Orleans.
Previous research has shown that living in neighborhoods with high rates of crime have significantly higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Stress is also a factor that is commonly reported to trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.
“We found that people living with epilepsy who live in high-crime neighborhoods experienced significantly more seizures,” said Jessica Levy, a research coordinator in the UIC department of neurology and rehabilitation who presented the findings. “On average, people in high-crime neighborhoods had three seizures versus one for people living in low-crime neighborhoods when we looked back over the last 30 days. Over the course of 90 days, people in high-crime neighborhoods had seven seizures on average compared to three for those living in low-crime neighborhoods, so the link between crime and seizure activity is significant.”