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What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a brain disorder where abnormal nerve cell activity causes seizures.
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Body system affected by Epilepsy:

Epilepsy affects the nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain and nerve cells, which allow the brain to communicate with and send impulses to body parts so that your body can move and work.

How the body system works normally and how it is affected by Epilepsy:

When the body system is working normally, brain cells control movements of the body by communicating with body parts using electrical impulses. When a body system is affected by Epilepsy, these electrical impulses are more intense and cause unusual electrical activity in the brain, which results in seizures.

Signs and Symptoms:

When a person is having multiple unprovoked seizures, it is a sign of epilepsy. There are many different types of seizures that have different symptoms. Tonic-clonic seizures, also known as grand-mal, cause unconsciousness and jerking movements in the limbs. The jaw will clamp shut and after one to two minutes the patient will fall asleep. In absence seizures, or petit-mal, the patient will go unconscious and stare blankly for five to ten seconds, and these seizures may happen multiple times per day. Myoclonic seizures are one to two second long jerks of the body, sometimes described as short electrical shocks. Clonic seizures are jerking movements on both sides of the body. Tonic seizures cause your muscles to stiffen for up to twenty seconds. Akinetic or atonic seizures, also known as drop attacks, cause your body to lose strength, which usually causes the patient to fall.

Target Population:

There are about 65 million people worldwide diagnosed with epilepsy, and almost 3 million just in the United States. There is no certain age that epilepsy begins, but it is likely to be diagnosed either before age 15 of after age 65. Men are slightly more likely to develop epilepsy than women are.
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How does Epilepsy arise?

Half of epilepsy cases have an unknown cause, but there are still many factors that could cause the condition to arise. Family history, head injury, brain tumor or other brain abnormalities, alcohol or drugs, and strokes are all things that could cause epilepsy.


Epilepsy can be diagnosed using many different testing systems. Electroencephalography is sometimes used to record brain waves. CAT scans, MRIs, PET scans, and blood tests are also used to diagnose this this condition. These tests track and abnormal brain signals and activity and show which part of the brain is the source of the seizures.
What is a Seizure?

Treatment for Epilepsy:

About 70% of epileptic patients are effectively treated using drugs such as anti-seizure medications. These drugs either reduce the amount of seizures the patient experiences, or stop them completely from occurring. If the medication does not work, the patient will receive surgery.


The life expectancy for someone with epilepsy is normal, but epileptic accidents and suicide because of the condition lower the survival rate. When medications and surgery do not stop the seizures from occurring, this also lowers the survival rate for patients.


I selected this condition because a friend of mine has it, and when she told me about it I had been interested. I had also once seen someone having a seizure while I was skiing which made me want to know more about the disorder.

Works Cited

"Epilepsy." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2015): 1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.

CARPENTER, MURRAY. "Electricity Tamps Down Epilepsy." Popular Science 287.5 (2015): 28. Middle Search Plus. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.

Meacham, Jon. "A STORM IN THE BRAIN. (Cover Story)." Newsweek 153.16 (2009): 38. Middle Search Plus. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.

"Epilepsy." Overview. 06 Nov. 2015. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.

Hingley, Audrey T. "Epilepsy." FDA Consumer 33.1 (1999): 28. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web.

19 Jan. 2016.

"Epilepsy Signs and Symptoms." Epilepsy Signs and Symptoms. Web. 20 Jan. 2016.

"Epilepsy Statistics." Epilepsy Foundation. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

"Epilepsy." Epilepsy. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

"What Is a Seizure?" YouTube. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.