Conditions & Treatments
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that produces brief disturbances in the normal electrical functions of the brain, causing recurrent seizures. It can be genetically present from birth or caused by a head injury, brain tumor, or stroke.
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 include things like medication, vagus 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?
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
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:
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.
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, stroke, infection, tumor, or other injury.
This form of epilepsy appears to have no known cause and the onset of seizures may begin at any time in an individual's life.
Did You Know?
Emory has a dedicated Epilepsy Center that offers care and consultation for the most complex forms of epilepsy.
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