New online program helps epilepsy patients better manage their disorder

By Kerry Ludlam | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | July 6, 2012

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WebEase (Web Epilepsy, Awareness, Support and Education), developed by Emory researchers, is the first evidence-based, online, epilepsy self-management program.

Approximately two million Americans have epilepsy, a neurological disorder that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. Many people with epilepsy face major barriers to accessing quality care.  

Fortunately, Emory researchers have developed WebEase© (Web Epilepsy, Awareness, Support and Education), the first evidence-based, online, epilepsy self-management program. WebEase is scientifically tested and shown to improve medicine adherence, stress management and sleep quality.  

"By providing access to WebEase via the Internet, we are able to break down barriers so that people with epilepsy can access and benefit from a scientifically tested program that can improve their health outcomes," says principal investigator Sandra Helmers, associate professor of neurology and pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. "WebEase will be particularly helpful for those who have been recently diagnosed with epilepsy, or for those who are struggling with managing their medication, reducing their stress levels and improving their sleep." 

The program was released this week by the Epilepsy Foundation and was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through their Prevention Research Centers and Epilepsy Programs.  WebEase was initially developed and tested under the leadership of Colleen K. DiIorio, professor in Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.  Dilorio collaborated with Rollins faculty members Cam Escoffery and Nancy J. Thompso. Helmers will manage the program's continuing development.  

WebEase consists of three core modules — medication, stress and sleep management. These modules are interactive, so participants can read information, respond to questions, receive tailored feedback, watch and listen to testimonials and learn proven strategies to assist them in setting personal goals to adopt healthy behaviors and to improve their epilepsy self-management.