The epidemiology of PNEA in high income, western settings is fairly well described but little is known about this condition in Africa. At a referral hospital in Tanzania, Dekker and colleagues have recently made some interesting observations.1 In their 6-year retrospective chart review, they found that PNEA comprised 50% of the functional neurologic disorders seen but the PNEA presenting in their setting was almost exclusively a short-lived, self-limited condition in young women. This is in stark contrast to the more insidious and diverse presentations of the condition in the US and leaves this epileptologist wondering if the difference is due possibly to selection bias, the deterrence of chronicity due to stigmatization and/or possibly the relative absence of the medicalization of PNEA in the African setting where many, perhaps most self-limited ‘seizures’ are not brought to medical attention.2
- Dekker MCJ, Urasa SJ, Kellogg M, Howlett WP. Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures among patients with functional neurological disorder: A case series from a Tanzanian referral hospital and literature review. Epilepsia Open 2018; 3(1): 66-72.
- Asadi-Pooya AA, Sperling MR. Epidemiology of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Epilepsy Behav 2015; 46: 60-5.