“Dogs Trained to Help with Seizures Can Improve Quality of Life for Epilepsy Patients”

A recent study published in Neurology suggests that an intervention involving seizure dogs can significantly reduce seizure frequency and increase the number of seizure-free days for people living with severe medically refractory epilepsy. The study, conducted by Valérie van Hezik-Wester and colleagues from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, focused on adults with daily to weekly seizures in the country.

During the 36-month follow-up period, participants were randomly assigned to receive a seizure dog in a stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial. The results showed that on average, participants experienced 115 seizures per 28-day period under usual care conditions, which decreased to 73 seizures with the intervention. Seven participants achieved a reduction of 50 percent or more in seizure frequency by the end of the study.

The study also found that for each consecutive 28-day period with the intervention, there was a 3.1 percent decrease in seizure frequency. Additionally, there was an increase in the number of seizure-free days, although there was no change in seizure severity. Participants also reported improvements in generic health-related quality of life scores, as measured by the EQ-5D-5L utility decrement. Overall self-rated HRQoL, epilepsy-specific HRQoL, and well-being also showed smaller improvements.

The authors of the study noted that improvements were observed across all outcome measures except for seizure severity, with the most significant improvements seen in seizure frequency and generic health-related quality of life. This research highlights the potential benefits of incorporating seizure dogs into the management of severe medically refractory epilepsy.

For more information, you can access the full study in Neurology.