Epilepsy is the recurrence of brief but severe disturbances of the nerve activity of the brain.
The brain is a hotbed of electrical activity—but when those “pulses” are disturbed, seizures can occur. This is the root of epilepsy, a brain disorder characterized by uncontrolled movements, disorientiation, and loss of consciousness.
Around 50 million people suffer from epilepsy, with 2 million more diagnosed each year. Seven out of 10 cases have no known cause; others are thought to have been triggered by head injury, tumors, and viral infections like meningitis. Epileptic seizures can further be triggered by various temporary environmental conditions such as stress, fatigue and even flashing lights.
There are many different types of epileptic seizures, depending on which part of the brain is affected. The most common type of epilepsy is the partial seizures, which involves only one area of the brain. This is further classified as simple partial, complex partial (also known as psychomotor), and absence (also known as myoclonic ) seizures.
Partial seizures are common among adults, and its symptoms of this type of seizure include jerky movements, difficulty seeing or hearing, sweating, or unexplained fear. Those suffering from complex partial seizures seem to enter a trance: they continue to move, but are unaware of their actions. Absence features, on the other hand, are more common among young children, and are characterized by twitching of the face and rolling back of the eyes.
Some seizures involve the whole brain, and can be potentially fatal: breathing stops, back arches, violent movements.
Epilepsy cannot be completely cured, but drugs and dietary changes can keep it under control. The ketogenic diet, which is very high in fat, has a relatively good success rate in controlling seizures among children.
Web Resources On Epilepsy
The Epilepsy Foundation
American Epilepsy Society
Book Resources On Epilepsy
Epilepsy: A New Approach by Richard & Reiter
Epilepsy and Seizures: Everything You Need to Know by Donald F. Weaver