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About the Author: Ian Bone

As a neurologist and honorary professor, I spent a large part of my thirty-five years career treating those with epilepsy. Over the same period of time, I have had the first-hand experience through a family member who lives with seizures. Seeing epilepsy from both sides of the fence has created awareness that successful treatment requires an understanding of the social and personal implications of living with epilepsy in addition to controlling the seizures. Historically, conditions such as epilepsy are tackled by doctors who often had little understanding of the social consequences of illness. Through my personal journey, I have become aware that disability lies not just with the individual but also with how society takes into account that person’s needs. It is this awareness that has led me to write “Sacred Lies.”

As well as being a clinical neurologist I have published widely, edited and co-written three student textbooks. I was an advisor to the Scottish Government on neurology services and have lectured medical students and doctors worldwide in places such as Nepal, India and West Bank. Since retiring I continue to lecture, write and be a trustee of several medical charities. I helped establish clinical governance at the William Quarrier Scottish Epilepsy Centre to whom any funds, raised by this book, will be donated.

Ian Bone (pictured right) lecturing at the medical school of An Najah National University, Nablus Palestine.

Purpose

Called by many names, such as the Falling illness or Sacred Disease, epilepsy is the most misunderstood of all conditions. Believed through the ages to be touched by genius or insanity the simple truth is that those with epilepsy are just like everyone else. Dispelling myths and misconceptions can help bring epilepsy out of the shadows as will recounting the trials and tribulations of those who face it.

The title of this book is taken from the Greeks’ view that those with epilepsy were somehow sacred, and its purpose is to make those without it understand it better and those with it know that many before them have shared their experiences and that they are not alone.

A further aim is to encourage more of those with epilepsy to stand up and declare their condition and become today’s role models. Doing this may be the only way to truly eradicate the stigma and prejudice that those centuries of ignorance have created.

Motivation and Support

The author has spent his career as a neurologist treating those with epilepsy but also, over the same period of time, has first-hand family experience of living with it. Seeing epilepsy from both sides of the fence has created awareness that successful treatment requires an understanding of the social and personal consequences of living with epilepsy as well as just controlling the seizures.

I have set out to provide a history of the condition, its representation in arts, literature and the media, the meaning of stigmatisation and discrimination, the law and epilepsy and a personal account of the issues that epilepsy throws up. Over the last few years, I have been active in overseeing governance at the William Quarrier Scottish Epilepsy Centre to whom any funds raised by this book will be donated.

The cost of editing has in part been met by a generous donation from Sir Boyd Tunnock of Thomas Tunnock Ltd and the cost of indexing by Bill Scott, Patron of the William Quarrier Scottish Epilepsy Centre. Formating and graphic design has been provided by Heather Merrick and Sharon McIntosh of Quarriers

What Is Epilepsy?

Fifty per cent of us have seen a seizure or know someone with epilepsy and, one in twenty five of us will have some kind of “fit” during our lives and yet, most of us don’t know what epilepsy is. The unspoken condition is a mystery to most. A seizure is simply an electrical storm within the brain and epilepsy occurs when the storm becomes recurrent. This book will cover all of this in detail and will outline the causes and different types of seizure. The outward manifestations of the “storm” depend upon from which area of the brain it is originating. Most imagine epilepsy to be a shaking attack, with loss of consciousness, and yet the most frequent manifestations of a seizure are not like that at all.