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Climate change: Attitudes and concerns of, and learnings from, people with neurological conditions, carers, and health care professionals

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen Blenkinsop



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. Epilepsia published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International League Against Epilepsy. Objective: Concern about climate change among the general public is acknowledged by surveys. The health care sector must play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to a changing climate, which will require the support of its stakeholders including those with epilepsy, who may be especially vulnerable. It is important to understand this community's attitudes and concerns about climate change and societal responses. Methods: A survey was made available to more than 100 000 people among a section of the neurological community (patients, carers, and clinicians), focused on epilepsy. We applied quantitative analysis of Likert scale responses supported by qualitative analyses of free-text questions with crossover analyses to identify consonance and dissonance between the two approaches. Results: A small proportion of potential respondents completed the survey; of 126 respondents, 52 had epilepsy and 56 explicitly declared no illness. The survey indicated concern about the impact of climate change on health within this neurological community focused on epilepsy. More than half of respondents considered climate change to have been bad for their health, rising to 68% in a subgroup with a neurological condition; over 80% expected climate change to harm their health in future. Most (>75%) believed that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will lead to improved health and well-being. The crossover analysis identified cost and accessibility as significant barriers. Significance: The high level of concern about climate change impacts and positive attitudes toward policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions provide support for climate action from the epilepsy community. However, if policies are implemented without considering the needs of patients, they risk being exclusionary, worsening inequalities, and further threatening neurological health and well-being.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blenkinsop S, Wardrope A, Willis J, Sisodiya SM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Epilepsia

Year: 2023

Volume: 65

Issue: 1

Pages: 95-106

Print publication date: 01/01/2024

Online publication date: 08/12/2023

Acceptance date: 08/11/2023

Date deposited: 03/01/2024

ISSN (print): 0013-9580

ISSN (electronic): 1528-1167

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.


DOI: 10.1111/epi.17824

PubMed id: 37945547


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Funder referenceFunder name
Health Education England/NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship
NE/R01079X/1Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)