20-11-2009 | Brainwave concerned at planned onstage seizure

20 November 2009
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Brainwave is concerned at news that a dance artist with epilepsy is to try to induce a seizure on stage during a performance in England.

The artist, Rita Marcalo who is the artistic director of the Instant Dissidence dance theatre in Leeds, has stopped taking her medication and is exposing herself to a range of trigger factors ahead of her show which takes place in Bradford in December. She hopes to trigger a seizure onstage on the night of the show.

The artist says that instead of hiding from and being embarrassed by her epilepsy, she will raise awareness of what is a much hidden disability by drawing attention to it in a very public way.

If she has a seizure, an alarm will sound and the audience will be invited to film on their mobile phones.

Although full medical support is to be made available during the performance, Ms Marcalo's plan is potentially very dangerous. Taking anti-epilepsy medication in the manner prescribed is vital to the overall management of epilepsy. Stopping this medication or changing the regimen prescribed is something Brainwave would categorically discourage others from doing due to the risks involved with having a breakthrough seizure.

Dr. Sallie Baxendale, from the UK charity, The National Society for Epilepsy is quoted as saying:

"The upside is that it gets people talking about epilepsy, but the downside is that it's being presented as a freaky type of entertainment as opposed to teaching people about seizures.The danger of coming off medication is that sometimes when you go back to the same level as before your seizures are not controlled any more. You play about with your medication at your peril."

Brainwave would like to join with UK epilepsy charities in urging Ms Marcalo to reconsider the event.

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