Can conversation analytic findings help with differential diagnosis in routine seizure clinic interactions?

Authors

  • Katie Ekberg Communication Disability Centre School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences The University of Queensland
  • Markus Reuber Academic Neurology Unit The University of Sheffield

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v12i1.26851

Keywords:

clinical practice, conversation analysis, differential diagnosis, epilepsy, history-taking, seizure disorders

Abstract

There are many areas in medicine in which the diagnosis poses significant difficulties and depends essentially on the clinician’s ability to take and interpret the patient’s history. The differential diagnosis of transient loss of consciousness (TLOC) is one such example, in particular the distinction between epilepsy and ‘psychogenic’ non-epileptic seizures (NES) is often difficult. A correct diagnosis is crucial because it determines the choice of treatment. Diagnosis is typically reliant on patients’ (and witnesses’) descriptions; however, conventional methods of history-taking focusing on the factual content of these descriptions are associated with relatively high rates of diagnostic errors. The use of linguistic methods (particularly conversation analysis) in research settings has demonstrated that these approaches can provide hints likely to be useful in the differentiation of epileptic and non-epileptic seizures. This paper explores to what extent (and under which conditions) the findings of these previous studies could be transposed from a research into a routine clinical setting.

Author Biographies

Katie Ekberg, Communication Disability Centre School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences The University of Queensland

Katie Ekberg is a Postdoctoral research Fellow in the School of Health and rehabilitation Sciences at the university of Queensland, australia. Her interests involve conversation analysis and healthcare interactions. Her previous research has involved examining client–practitioner communication in Cognitive behavioural Therapy sessions for clients diagnosed with depression, calls with specialist nurses on a major uK cancer helpline, consultations with neurologists and patients suffering from seizure disorders, and most recently audiology appointments with hearing-impaired clients.

Markus Reuber, Academic Neurology Unit The University of Sheffield

Markus Reuber is Professor of Clinical neurology at the university of Sheffield and Honorary Consultant at the Sheffield teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation trust in the united Kingdom. His clinical and research work focuses on patients with seizures and on communication challenges which clinicians face in their work. He has pioneered the use of conversation analysis and other linguistic techniques in neurology.

Published

2016-06-07

How to Cite

Ekberg, K., & Reuber, M. (2016). Can conversation analytic findings help with differential diagnosis in routine seizure clinic interactions?. Communication and Medicine, 12(1), 13–24. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v12i1.26851

Issue

Section

Articles