A HELENSBURGH author is hoping to help break down the stigmas around epilepsy to improve the lives of thousands living with the condition.

Dr Ian Bone wrote “Sacred Lives” to tackle the lack of understanding across the general public despite an estimated 50,000 people Scots with epilepsy.

He said the perception is those with the condition will have problems as work colleagues, life partners, shouldn’t be working with machinery or driving, or other misconceptions.

Dr Bone was a consultant neurologist in Glasgow for more than 20 years before becoming a professor and now honourary senior research fellow at the school of medicine at the University of Glasgow.

The 76-year-old, who is originally from Reading, told the Advertiser: “The perception is people are not in control. I was a neurologist and part of my job was seeing people with epilepsy and having a family history of epilepsy.

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“I can think way back to when I started how people had difficulty getting in nursing or medicine or police forces. It was wrong they were put in that position.”

Dr Bone said medical treatment has improved enormously, but society’s reactions are lagging when it’s difficult to educate members of the public who don’t have a connection to epilepsy.

“I’m trying to produce something that people might want to read about,” he said.

But Dr Bone said there was a need for more high-profile figures and celebrities to be open about their condition. Actor Hugo Weaving is an example, and TV and film depictions have improved.

He warned, however, that first-aid reactions to epilepsy as portrayed in shows such as House or ER were “all terrible”.

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The book covers the history, cultural associations and social impact of epilepsy, looking at how it is portrayed as well as advances in medicine.

The British Journal of General Practice (Life) said of the book: “In writing Sacred Lives Professor Bone states that the ‘aim has been to bring epilepsy out of the shadows’ and ‘challenge fresh thought about the lives of those for whom epilepsy is a daily reality.’ It is a fascinating book which succeeds, and nurtures that extra insight.”

Sales from the book are going to the Scottish Epilepsy Centre and Dr Bone said he hoped its publication will help others.

He added: “The book alone will not be the solution. I know patients who have read it and families have read it. The feedback I have had has made me feel like it’s worthwhile.”

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