An evaluation of the quality of epilepsy education on the Canadian World Wide Web

Epilepsy Behav. 2006 Feb;8(1):299-302. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2005.09.008. Epub 2005 Nov 7.


Background: Despite the substantial amount of epilepsy-related information available on the Internet, little is known about its quality. Epilepsy-related information in English on the Canadian Internet was reviewed.

Methods: Popular search engines (,,, were interrogated. Web sites aimed primarily at patient and family education, geared toward human epilepsy, and epilepsy in general as opposed to one specific type or aspect of epilepsy, were included. Web sites were then subdivided in to proprietary (directly sponsored by the industry) and nonproprietary, and evaluated according to compliance with the principles of the Health on the Net (HON) Foundation Code of Conduct. Web sites without comprehensive contents were excluded. Comparison between total scores was done using the rank test. Categorized descriptors were assessed with t tests.

Results: Five proprietary and fourteen nonproprietary websites were identified. None of them were compliant with all eight principles of the HON code. The average number of principles with which these sites were in compliance was 3.3 (range: 1-6.5, P = 0.4, proprietary vs nonproprietary).

Conclusions: The Internet has the potential to be a very powerful educational tool for patients with epilepsy. However, most of the easily accessed epilepsy web sites do not comply with accepted standards for health web sites.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Epilepsy*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods
  • Information Services / standards*
  • Internet / standards*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards*