Myths and fallacies about epilepsy among residents of a Karachi slum area

Majid Shafiq, Mansoor Tanwir, Asma Tariq, Ayesha Saleem, Monaa Zafar, Ali Khan Khuwaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Misconceptions about epilepsy may explain the considerable stigma accompanying it. We aimed to identify such fallacies through questionnaire-based interviews of 487 adult residents of a slum area in Karachi, Pakistan. Of those interviewed, 25% believed that epilepsy was caused by evil spirits, black magic and envy by others - those without a school education were more likely to hold these views (P < 0.05). Perceived complications included impotence and cancer. Shoe-sniffing was considered a treatment modality by 13%. It appears that misconceptions abound regarding epilepsy's causes, complications and methods of treatment. However, those who had received a school education were less likely to link epilepsy with supernatural phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-33
Number of pages2
JournalTropical Doctor
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


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