Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Epilepsy Overview

What is epilepsy?
A person with epilepsy suffers from repeated or recurrent seizures. A seizure is caused by a sudden increase in electrical activity in the brain. Seizures cause the brain to malfunction, often resulting in unconsciousness, convulsions, uncontrolled shaking, or changes in behavior. More than 3 million people in the USA have some form of epilepsy. The underlying cause for epilepsy is often not clear. In some cases, epilepsy may be associated with a prior head injury or infection (encephalitis).

What are the symptoms of epilepsy?
Symptoms of epilepsy include an aura, or a sensation that a seizure is going to occur. Other symptoms include staring, loss of awareness, loss of consciousness, convulsions, muscle spasms, tongue biting, and a short period of confusion following the seizure.

How does the doctor treat epilepsy?
Treatment for epilepsy may include a special diet and medications to lessen the frequency of seizures.

Continue to Epilepsy Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Epilepsy References
  1. Alsaadi TM, Marquez AV. Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Sep 1;72(5):849-56. [16156345]
  2. Camfield P, Camfield C. Epileptic syndromes in childhood: clinical features, outcomes, and treatment. Epilepsia. 2002;43 Suppl 3:27-32. [12060004]
  3. Kinsman SL, Vining EP, Quaskey SA, Mellits D, Freeman JM. Efficacy of the ketogenic diet for intractable seizure disorders: review of 58 cases. Epilepsia. 1992 Nov-Dec;33(6):1132-6. [1464275]
  4. Pearl PL, Bennett HD, Khademian Z. Seizures and metabolic disease. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2005 Mar;5(2):127-33. [15743550]
  5. Posner EB, Mohamed K, Marson AG. A systematic review of treatment of typical absence seizures in children and adolescents with ethosuximide, sodium valproate or lamotrigine. Seizure. 2005 Mar;14(2):117-22. [15694565]
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