WHAT IS A SEIZURE?
A seizure happens when the electrical system of the brain malfunctions. Instead of controlled electrical energy in the brain cells, the brain cells keep firing, resulting in a variety of clinical manifestations depending on which area or areas of the brain is involved in the seizure.
WHAT IS A EPILEPSY?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures. The word "epilepsy" does not indicate anything about the cause of the person's seizures, what type they are, or how severe they are.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF SEIZURES?
Seizures can take on many different forms and can affect different people in different ways. Some common symptoms during a seizure include alteration of the level of awareness, lip smacking, confusion, abnormal movements and sensations, blank staring, shaking, behavioral changes, and the inability to talk. In the most severe form patients exhibit generalized body convulsions. Patients may also have a warning before a seizure, called an aura, such as the perception of a strange taste or smell, fear, anxiety, visual changes, stomach or epigastria discomfort, strange feelings, and dizziness. Patients may also have a combination of the above symptoms.
HOW IS EPILEPSY DIAGNOSED?
A careful and detailed medical history with as much information as possible about what the person does during a seizure including any aura or any after effects is paramount in the diagnosis. Another tool is an electroencephalograph (EEG). This is a machine that records brain waves picked up by tiny wires called electrodes taped to the head. Brain waves during or between seizures may show special patterns which help the doctor decide whether or not someone has epilepsy. Multiple techniques in structural and functional brain imaging may help point to the etiology of epilepsy.
HOW IS EPILEPSY TREATED?
Most patients with epilepsy will achieve seizure control by the use of appropriate anti-seizure medication. Each type of epilepsy responds differently to these medications. A specific seizure type may respond dramatically to one medication, while another medication may have no effect on that particular seizure type. People who have more than one type of seizure may need to take more than one kind of drug, although doctors try to control seizures with one drug if possible.
What Is an Epileptologist?
An epileptologist is a neurologist who specializes in the treatment of epilepsy.
A neurologist becomes an epileptologist typically after perusing comprehensive fellowship training at an Academic Epilepsy Center
Epileptologists are experts in seizures and seizure disorders, anticonvulsants, and special situations involving seizures, such as cases in which all treatment intended to stop seizures has failed. Epileptologists are directly involved in clinical and basic research to enhance understanding and management of epilepsy.
Finally, an Epileptologist is concerned about the non-medical issues of Epilepsy (social injustice, driving regulations, access to employment and healthcare, quality of life).