Epilepsy (from Ancient Greek ἐπιληψία epilēpsia) is a common and diverse set of chronic neurological disorders characterized by seizures. Some definitions of epilepsy require that seizures be recurrent and unprovoked, but others require only a single seizure combined with brain alterations which increase the chance of future seizures. In many cases a cause cannot be identified, however factors that are associated include brain trauma, strokes, brain cancer, and drug and alcohol misuse among others.
Epileptic seizures result from abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain. About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly 90% of epilepsy occurs in developing countries. Epilepsy becomes more common as people age. Onset of new cases occurs most frequently in infants and the elderly. As a consequence of brain surgery, epileptic seizures may occur in recovering patients.
Epilepsy is usually controlled, but not cured, with medication. However, over 30% of people with epilepsy do not have seizure control even with the best available medications. Surgery may be considered in difficult cases. Not all epilepsy syndromes are lifelong – some forms are confined to particular stages of childhood. Epilepsy should not be understood as a single disorder, but rather as syndromic with vastly divergent symptoms, all involving episodic abnormal electrical activity in the brain and numerous seizures.
Famous quotes containing the word epilepsy:
“We are compelled by the theory of Gods already achieved perfection to make Him a devil as well as a god, because of the existence of evil. The god of love, if omnipotent and omniscient, must be the god of cancer and epilepsy as well.... Whoever admits that anything living is evil must either believe that God is malignantly capable of creating evil, or else believe that God has made many mistakes in His attempts to make a perfect being.”
—George Bernard Shaw (18561950)