Epilepsy is a group of related disorders characterized by a tendency for recurrent seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of consciousness. It is a central nervous system or neurological disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted.


Causes of Epilepsy

Although most of the patients do not have any identifiable cause, the rest may be because of any of the following factors:

  • Genetic
  • Head trauma
  • Brain disorders like tumors or strokes
  • Infectious diseases like meningitis, AIDS and viral encephalitis
  • Prenatal injury
  • Developmental disorders, such as autism and neurofibromatosis

Symptoms of Epilepsy

The symptoms of seizure vary widely and may include any of the following:

  • Simple staring blankly for a few seconds
  • Repeatedly twitching of arms or legs
  • Temporary confusion
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Psychic symptoms

Some individuals may have a single unprovoked seizure that cannot be categorized as epilepsy. At least two unprovoked seizures are generally required for an epilepsy diagnosis.

Diagnosis of Epilepsy

The diagnosis of epilepsy requires thorough medical history, symptom review and neurological examination of the patient. In addition to this, several tests are performed to diagnose epilepsy and determine the cause of seizures. The tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Functional MRI (FMRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT)