Reviewed by Dr. Clement J. Cheng
Epilepsy is a condition in which occasional strong electrical bursts in the brain result in seizures. Seizures vary from brief unconsciousness or "spacing out" to tremors of any or all muscles. In over 70% of cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. Known causes include diseases of the brain like meningitis and encephalitis, stroke or tumors, trauma during birth, and brain damage from chemicals (such as lead poisoning). Seizures can also be attributed to alchohol withdrawl and pregnancy (eclampsia). Epilepsy can develop at any age, though onset is most common in children and persons over 60.
All brain function is conducted by little electrical charges traveling in the brain. When abnormally strong electrical bursts occur in epilepsy, they disrupt this normal brain function and cause seizures. Seizures can manifest themselves in a wide range of behaviors.