Epilepsy - overview

Seizure disorder; Epileptic - epilepsy

Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures over time. Seizures are episodes of uncontrolled and abnormal firing of brain cells that may cause changes in attention or behavior.

Brain structures

The structures of the brain include the brainstem, consisting of the spinal cord, the medulla oblongata, the pons and the midbrain; the cerebellum; the cerebrum (one half, or hemisphere shown), and the diencephalon.

Limbic system

The limbic system of the brain is a group of structures which govern emotions and behavior. The limbic system, and in particular the hippocampus and amygdala, is involved in the formation of long-term memory, and is closely associated with the olfactory structures (having to do with the sense of smell).

Role of the vagus nerve in epilepsy

The vagus nerves branch off the brain on either side of the head and travel down the neck, along the esophagus to the intestinal tract. They are the longest nerves in the body, and affect swallowing and speech. The vagus nerves also connect to parts of the brain involved in seizures. In many seizures disorders, electrical stimulation of the vagus nerves may afford relief of symptoms.

Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system

The central nervous system is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system includes all peripheral nerves.

Convulsions - first aid - series

1. When a seizure occurs, the main goal is to protect the person from injury. Try to prevent a fall by laying the person on the ground in a safe area. The area should be cleared of furniture or other sharp objects. 2. Cushion the person's head. 3. Loosen tight clothing, especially around the neck.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention