YouTube: a gauge of public perception and awareness surrounding epilepsy

Epilepsy Behav. 2010 Apr;17(4):541-5. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.02.004. Epub 2010 Mar 16.


Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder. Despite advances in research and epilepsy education campaigns, there remains significant misinformation and persistent stigma. The Internet is a widely used source for information and communication. Therefore, we sampled the video-sharing website YouTube ( to see how epilepsy is being perceived. The top 10 videos are being viewed 3200 times daily. All videos showed statistically significant differences for within-variable analysis in at least one variable: empathy or knowledge (P<0.001). Further assessment revealed that "real-life" epilepsy videos generated the most hits and comments, had the most favorable empathetic scoring, but provided little to no information to viewers. Conversely, videos providing information had largely neutral or negative empathy scores. Video-sharing websites, like YouTube, have the potential to remediate the significant misinformation and persistent stigma surrounding epilepsy. This study underscores the importance of recognizing the significant attributes of videos that engage the viewers.

MeSH terms

  • Awareness*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Perception*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Video Recording