Diagnosis of epilepsy

Diagnosing epilepsy can be very difficult, especially as approximately one in 20 people experience a ‘funny turn’ at some time in their life. Due to this, epilepsy is rarely diagnosed after one seizure.

Despite advances in technology, there is still an unacceptably high rate of misdiagnosis of epilepsy in the UK (estimated at 20-31% in 2012). This means that some people (who don’t actually have epilepsy) are prescribed potent antiepileptic drugs unnecessarily, whilst others (who do have epilepsy) wait a long time to begin treatment. This is an area that must be addressed in order that people may receive the most appropriate therapy as promptly as possible.

To help them to make an accurate diagnosis, there are several tools available to epilepsy specialists. These include:

  • Patient and witness accounts
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans

Download our leaflet ‘Diagnosing epilepsy‘ for more information.

Epilepsy Research UK is currently funding Dr Sameer Zuberi and colleagues, at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, to develop a new tool for the prompt diagnosis and treatment of childhood epilepsies. You can read more about this project here.

Explore our site further for information about the causes and treatment of epilepsy.


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