This section of our website aims to give you an overview of epilepsy and its treatment. We also have a broad range of information leaflets, which you can access here.
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Epilepsy is a common condition that affects approximately one in 103 people. It is usually diagnosed in childhood and in people over the age of 65, but it can affect any one.
The only visible symptom of epilepsy is recurrent seizures, and these are caused by too much electrical activity in groups of neurons in the brain. The behaviour that a person displays during a seizure depends upon the area of their brain that is affected. Click here for some background information about how seizures arise.
There are three main types of seizure: primary generalised, focal and secondary generalised. Primary generalised seizures involve the entire brain, whilst focal seizures affect a specific region. Secondary generalised seizures begin in one part of the brain and then spread throughout the whole of it. You can read about the different types of generalised and focal seizure in our information leaflet entitled ‘What is epilepsy?’.
Epilepsy Research UK is currently funding research to find out exactly what happens to the brain before and during a seizure. For example:
- Professor John Jefferys, at the University of Birmingham, is studying a certain type of brain wave and its role in seizure generation. You can learn more here.
- Dr Ivan Pavlov, at University College London, is investigating the role of a neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in initiating seizures. You can read more here.
This is just one project from our research portfolio, which includes studies into many different aspects of epilepsy. To view the full portfolio click here.