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Stress Reduction May Help Reduce Epileptic Seizures

Both focused attention and progressive muscle relaxation techniques cut seizures

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Both focused attention and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) result in reductions in seizure frequency in patients with epilepsy, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in Neurology.

Sheryl R. Haut, M.D., from the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues randomized 66 adults with medication-resistant focal epilepsy to 12 weeks of either PMR with diaphragmatic breathing or control focused-attention activity with extremity movements.

The researchers found that seizure frequency was reduced from baseline in both treatment groups (PMR: 29 percent; P < 0.05; focused attention: 25 percent; P < 0.05). There was no difference between the two interventions in seizure reduction (P = 0.38), although PMR was associated with greater stress reduction compared to focused attention (P < 0.05). Daily stress was not found to predict seizures.

“These findings highlight the need for larger, individually targeted behavioral therapy trials to control seizures and improve quality of life in patients with epilepsy,” the authors write.

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