Epilepsy/Seizures

What is a seizure?

Our brain cells talk to each other by sending electrical discharges.  A seizure occurs when either areas of the brain or the whole brain creates abnormal electrical discharges.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a disease of the brain that predisposes a person to recurrent unprovoked seizures.  Seizures are not a disease in themselves.  Instead, they are a symptom of many different disorders that can affect the brain.  Epilepsy means the same thing as “seizure disorder”.

Epilepsy is very common.

·     1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in the United States

·     1 in 10 people will have a seizure during their lifetime

Epilepsy can be diagnosed in two different scenarios.

·     One seizure and an abnormal EEG (a test that looks at brain activity)

·     Two or more unprovoked (not associated with a high fever or trauma, etc.) seizures

What causes epilepsy?

The causes of epilepsy vary by age, but the cause of epilepsy is unknown in a large percentage of cases.  Part of the evaluation completed at the time of diagnosis and follow up includes a search for the cause.  Some causes, but not all, include genetic changes, abnormalities in the development of the brain, trauma, and tumors, to name a few.

What is the treatment for epilepsy?

Management begins with the use of seizure medications (antiepileptic drugs).  For those patients who continue to have seizures despite medications, other available treatments include surgery, special diets, and medical devices.  We also offer clinical trials in the field of epilepsy.