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What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions in the world.

Affecting the brain and nervous system, epilepsy causes recurring, unprovoked seizures. These seizures are the result of excessive electrical activity within the networks in the brain, which leads to temporary disruptions in normal brain function.

There are over 40 different types of seizure but the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) has identified three main types.

  • generalised onset
  • focal onset
  • seizures of unknown onset

Who does epilepsy affect?

From babies to the elderly, epilepsy affects people at every life stage, but is most commonly diagnosed in childhood and in people over 60.

Why does epilepsy happen?

While some epilepsies can be caused by genetic factors, brain injuries and tumours, in the majority of cases the cause can’t be identified.

What are the treatments for epilepsy?

Most people with epilepsy will take anti-seizure medication to prevent further seizures, but up to a third of people have drug resistant epilepsy, which means other treatments may be more suitable.

Is there a cure?

Not at the moment, but we are working on it. There’s ground-breaking work happening in labs across the UK, while clinicians are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible to deliver at the bedside. As the central hub for epilepsy research, we are focused on driving forward this work.