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Title: An exploration of the experience of living with epilepsy in later life
Author: Drane , Emma Shan Maud
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological condition, and places a considerable burden on those who suffer from it. Previously it has been assumed that epilepsy most commonly starts in childhood, however more recent studies have found a second peak of incidence in old age. Given the ageing population in developed countries, there exists a large number of older people with new onset and chronic epilepsy. Previous research has neglected older people with epilepsy, and so little is known about the experience of having epilepsy in later life. The first paper reviews the literature regarding Quality of Life (QOL) in older people with epilepsy (PWE). It considers a generic and an epilepsy-specific model of QOL. Empirical studies investigating QOL in older PWE are reviewed with the existing theoretical models in mind. Implications and recommendations for future research, theory and clinical practice are then discussed. The second paper investigates Accelerated Long-Term Forgetting (ALF) in people with late-onset Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). People with TLE often complain of memory difficulties. These memory complaints often go undetected by standard neuropsychological testing, and previous research has identified a tendency in this population to learn new information normally, but forget it quickly. Little is known, however, about people who develop TLE later in life, and this study sought to replicate previous findings of ALF in people with late-onset TLE. A sample of 16 epilepsy patients and 19 healthy age- and education-matched controls were recruited. A brief neuropsychological test battery was administered, along with self-report questionnaires about memory problems and tests of remote memory. Two verbal memory tests were used to assess ALF. Participants were trained to criterion on both tests, and memory was assessed immediately and at delays of 30 minutes, 24 hours and one week. Results showed that people with late-onset TLE were able to recall the material normally at 30 minutes, but recalled less than controls after 24 hours and one week. These findings support the complaints of people with TLE, and implications for memory theory, future research and clinical practice are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available