Epilepsy News

Epilepsy is a neurological condition in which an individual has recurrent seizures. It is also commonly referred to as seizure disorder. A seizure occurs when the nerve cells in the brain create signals in an unusual or excessive manner. Symptoms can range from involuntary movements to more mild changes in what the person feels or see. They can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.

The exact cause of epilepsy can be hard to pin down. In most people with epilepsy, there is no specific cause, and the disorder may be genetic. Other times, head injuries, stroke, brain infections or oxygen deprivation can lead to the development of epilepsy. It can develop early or later in life, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 2 million adults and about a half-million children have epilepsy.

Symptoms of Epilepsy

The severity and general nature of epilepsy can vary quite a bit from person to person. For some, the symptoms are quite mild and occur rarely, with people experiencing just a momentary disruption in one or more senses, for example. Others with epilepsy experience a loss of consciousness or appear to be staring off into space for a short period of time. And then there are full-body convulsions that are often considered seizures. People can also experience more than one type of seizure, and the frequency of seizures varies from person to person.

Treatment

Most seizures are treated with antiepileptic drugs. A variety of drugs are now available, and doctors may have a patient try one while carefully monitoring the person to determine the drug's effectiveness as well as the side effects. It often takes a few attempts to find the right medication or combination of medications to control seizures.

In instances where seizures originate in one very specific part of the brain, called the “seizure focus, ” surgery to remove the seizure focus may be an option. Other possibilities for epilepsy treatment include electrical nerve stimulation and a diet known as the ketogenic diet.

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Epilepsy Foundation

Date Posted
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6/19/2019
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Epilepsy Drugs and Birth Defect Risk

Two drugs prescribed to prevent seizures and treat migraine may increase the risk of birth defects if taken early in pregnancy.

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Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy

Children with epilepsy may benefit from alternative therapies to control seizures, study finds.

12/4/2017
11/7/2017
10/23/2017
Medical Marijuana Won't Help Most Sick Kids

Helped with chemo-linked nausea, epilepsy, but no evidence for other conditions

10/3/2017
Health Tip: Managing Epilepsy in Children

Create a plan to keep your child safe at school

8/11/2017
Pot Compound Alters Levels of Seizure Drug in Epilepsy Patients

Experimental therapy shows interaction between cannabidiol and clobazam

8/10/2017
Number of Americans With Epilepsy at Record Level

3.4 million people live with the disorder, government researchers say

8/2/2017
Doctors May Be Over-Prescribing Seizure Drugs to Treat Pain

Designed to treat epilepsy, these 'opioid alternatives' dampen some types of pain, but not all

7/31/2017
Genetic Testing Can Help Pinpoint Epilepsy Earlier

Faster diagnosis leads to faster treatment, researcher says

5/24/2017
Compound in Pot Eases Severe Form of Epilepsy

Cannabidiol not associated with the 'high' of marijuana, researchers report

5/17/2017
Black, Hispanic Americans Less Likely to See a Neurologist

They more often wind up in the ER and face higher medical costs than white patients, study shows

5/2/2017
'Silent' Seizures Tied to Alzheimer's Symptoms

Researchers suggest they're a potential target for treating the disease

4/28/2017
Seizure Control Eases Life for Young Adults With Epilepsy

Those with uncomplicated cases do as well as their siblings without the disorder, study finds

4/25/2017
Seizure Control Key to Avoiding Sudden Death With Epilepsy

Tonic-clonic seizures are a major risk factor for this rare event, new guideline says

4/18/2017
Pot Ingredient Might Ease Severe Epilepsy

Cannabidiol appears to lessen 'drop seizures' for some Lennox-Gastaut syndrome patients, study finds

4/17/2017
Epilepsy: Another Potential Zika Threat to Babies

CDC team says up to half of infants exposed to the virus develop seizures

4/3/2017
Obesity in Early Pregnancy May Raise Child's Risk of Epilepsy

The heavier the mom, the greater the odds of the seizure disorder, study suggests