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Epilepsy is a common neurological condition with severe personal, familial and societal impact. In 2003, it was estimated that there were at least 9 million people with epilepsy in China.1 In the last two decades, there has been significant economic growth, rapid urbanisation and demographic changes with an increased ageing of the Chinese population which may all have impacted epilepsy prevalence. A systematic review2 using modelling recently suggested that epilepsy prevalence in China has dramatically increased, having more than doubled. This is, however, not consistent with the notion that epilepsy is a condition with a generally low prevalence.3
We have conducted two cross-sectional population-based surveys 12 years apart, and this has provided some insight into the question as the surveys provided an indication of secular trends in the life-time prevalence of epilepsy.
In both surveys, we applied multi-stage random cluster sampling based on Chinese census units in three rural areas which represented different geographical areas, ethnicities and economic levels (online supplementary figure S1). Participants were enrolled if they were residents in the area. Lists of residents were extracted from the local population registration system. The survey procedure included two stages of screening and ascertaining epilepsy cases in the target population.1
The first epidemiological survey was carried out during 2000 and 2002. We conducted the second survey during 2012 and 2013 in the same general areas with identical protocol and questionnaires as used in the 2000–2002 survey. Populations in each site in the two surveys did …
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