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Epilepsy

Related Terms

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Background

  • Epilepsy is a group of disorders characterized by recurrent seizures. In epilepsy, brain cells (neurons) create abnormal electricity that causes seizures or jerking movements. In some cases, seizures cause a loss of consciousness, a period of confusion, a staring spell, or muscle spasms.
  • A single seizure is not considered epilepsy. Individuals with epilepsy have repeated episodes of seizures. Different forms of epilepsy are either secondary to a particular brain abnormality or neurological disorder, or are said to be idiopathic (without any clear cause).
  • Normally, nerve transmission in the brain occurs in an orderly fashion, allowing a smooth flow of electrical activity. Neurons send messages using chemicals that cause an electrical signal to be produced. When a neuron is not sending a signal, it is "at rest." An action potentially occurs when a neuron sends information down an axon, away from the cell body.
  • A seizure occurs when these neurons generate electrical discharges that spread throughout the brain. This can occur with both normal and abnormal nerve cells.
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Risk Factors and Causes

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Types of Seizures

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Self-Monitoring

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.