New questionnaire ‘aids medical students’ understanding of seizures’

Posted Jan 12 2016 in Conditions related to epilepsy

Researchers have developed a new questionnaire that could be used to help medical students to better understand seizures.

Conducted by Georgia Regents University, the study – published in the International Journal of Medical Education – aimed to evaluate the structured questionnaire’s impact on improving medical students’ ability to identify, describe and interpret a witnessed seizure.

A total of 92 third-year medical students were asked to view videos of a primary generalised seizure and a complex partial seizure, before completing an unstructured questionnaire that asked them to describe the seizure they had just watched.

The students were then completed a structured questionnaire that asked them to respond to 17 questions regarding specific features occurring during the seizures, with researchers assessing the number and types of correct responses for each questionnaire.

Overall, the structured questionnaire was shown to be more effective, eliciting an average of 9.25 correct responses, compared to the 5.3 correct answers produced by the unstructured questionnaire.

Additionally, it was shown that ten of 17 key seizure features were identified more effectively using the structured questionnaire. Potentially confounding factors – such as prior knowledge of someone with epilepsy or a prior experience of viewing a seizure – did not predict the student’s ability to correctly identify any of the 17 features.

The researchers concluded: “A structured questionnaire significantly improves a medical student’s ability to provide an accurate clinical description of primary generalised and complex partial witnessed seizures. Our analysis identified the ten specific features improved by using the structured questionnaire.”

This shows the questionnaire could be a useful tool in helping young doctors to provide more educated and responsive care when dealing with patients experiencing epileptic seizures.

Posted by Anne Brown

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