The Emory Epilepsy Center is part of the Emory School of Medicine, globally recognized for medical research and physician training, and Emory Healthcare, one of the nation's leading health care systems. The Epilepsy Center staff sees over 7,000 patients each year from around the nation for consultation and treatment. Our complete range of services includes diagnostic testing and the latest treatments, from anti-epileptic drug therapy to vagus nerve stimulation to brain surgery. In addition, our neurophysiologists work with patients to manage the special emotional and psychological stresses that are often the byproduct of seizure disorders.

About Epilepsy

It is estimated that over 40 million people in the world may suffer from epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes abnormal electrical activity in the brain resulting in recurrent seizures. The condition affects children, adults, and seniors and can be genetically present from birth or caused by a head injury, brain tumors, or infectious diseases. In many cases, the cause is unknown.

Today, effective treatments developed by institutions such as the Emory Epilepsy Center that include things like medication, nerve stimulation, and epilepsy surgery, have resulted in the control of seizures for up to 80 percent of all of those diagnosed with the disease.

What are seizures?

Seizures are sudden events of altered brain function, which usually are brief but often occur repeatedly. Abnormal brain functions that can occur during seizures include:

  • Complete or partial loss of consciousness
  • Involuntary jerks, tremors, or other simple movements
  • More complex, but involuntary movements, such as turning in circles
  • Confusion or nonsensical speech
  • Unusual sensations in the head or body
  • Loss of ability to speak or understand speech
  • Memory loss

Forms of Epilepsy

Each type of epilepsy is a malfunction of a particular area of the brain, with the temporal lobe region being the most commonly affected area. However, the forms can be simplified into three basic categories based on the origin of the epileptic condition. These include:

Idiopathic Epilepsy:

Epilepsy, which is thought to have a genetic cause. There are no other symptoms or reasons for the condition to exist and the brain appears to be normal when a seizure is not occurring. This type of epilepsy usually responds well to medication therapies.

Symptomatic Epilepsy:

Epilepsy that is the result of an abnormality or lesion of the brain, either present at birth or caused later in life by a traumatic incident such as a head injury.

Cryptogenic Epilepsy:

This form of epilepsy appears to have no known cause and the onset of seizures may begin at anytime in an individual's life.