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Neurological disorder caused by paroxysmal malfunction of neurons in the brain (seizures). It is characterized by strange movements or sensations in parts of the body, odd behaviours, emotional disturbances, and sometimes convulsions and momentary lapses of consciousness. Seizures may result from abnormal electrical activity in most or all of the brain (generalized), or they may originate in a specific brain area (partial). Causes include brain tumours, infections, genetic or developmental abnormalities, stroke, and head trauma, although no cause can be found in most cases. Treatment is usually with anticonvulsant medications; brain surgery may be beneficial if drugs cannot control seizures.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on epilepsy, visit Britannica.com.