/ Modified aug 22, 2013 4:16 p.m.

Epilepsy Rates in Hispanics Lower Along the AZ-Sonora Border

Recent study shows more Caucasians suffer from neurological disorder; results differ in non-border cities.



A new study shows epilepsy rates among Hispanics on the Arizona-Sonora border are starkly different than in bigger cities.

Findings from the Arizona Comprehensive Epilepsy Program’s recent work show the neurological disorder in Hispanics is half of what it is in Caucasians.

Similar studies in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York had found the opposite, with epilepsy rates in Hispanics doubling that of Caucasians.

“We were looking in a very different type of location,” said Dr. David Labiner, who headed the study. "A border location, where we would anticipate a more fresh immigrant population..."

Labiner said he thinks the reason for the drop of epilepsy in Hispanics along the border could be what is known as the “healthy immigrant” phenomenon. The phenomenon suggests that people who cross a border for work tend to be healthy enough to do labor-intensive jobs.

The program, which is a part of the University of Arizona’s neurology department, plans to do a follow-up study to confirm the unusual results, as well as another study looking at immigrant populations in Central America.

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