Epilepsy is one of the oldest and most mysterious ailments. Three million Americans (1 in 26), of all ages and races, have epilepsy. It affects more people than brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy combined. Striking the organ most responsible for our very humanity – the brain – it can cause terrifying and disabling seizures that come without warning, at any time, in many different forms. Epilepsy (“seizure disorder”) is a neurological condition that affects the central nervous system. A person is said to have epilepsy when they have experienced two or more unprovoked seizures that are separated by at least 24 hours or one unprovoked seizure and a probability of further seizures. One seizure may not mean that epilepsy is present.
Many aspects of epilepsy are still a mystery, but it is known that seizures are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be the result of a brain injury or damage, genetics, infectious diseases, and developmental disorders, but often occur without a known cause.
For almost one third of all patients, epilepsy is uncontrollable, unremitting, and all consuming. And even as doctors and patients push the frontiers of treatment forward, a fundamental question remains – what causes epilepsy? Learn more.