Definition of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological condition, which is characterized by repeated convulsions or seizures. There is no known cure for this condition however it is treatable through medical therapy or through surgical treatment. .

Epilepsy is the earliest recorded brain disorder. People with epilepsy have been feared and isolated by society throughout history. Ancient Greeks thought people with epilepsy had mystical powers. Romans treated people with epilepsy as lepers and outcasts. Other theorists believed that those who had seizures sinned against God and as a punishment were now possessed by demonic spirits.

It was early 400 B.C. when Hippocrates linked seizures to problems in the brain. This view was not accepted by his contemporaries and was pushed aside. It was not until the late 1800s that people again began to understand that epilepsy was caused by a brain malfunction.

Two European physicians, John Hughlings Jackson and W.R. Gowers, studied people with epilepsy at the National Hospital for Paralyzed and Epileptics in London and proved Hippocrates’ theory that epilepsy is a brain malfunction.

Still, the 19th-century health care systems in Europe isolated people with epilepsy and forced them to live in colonies away from society. Until as late as the 1950″s, people rarely talked about their epilepsy and therefore hid the disorder from the public.

While there are some recognized causes to epilepsy the vast majority of cases have no known cause. In cases where the cause is known it is called Symptomatic Epilepsy. Fewer than thirty-five percent of cases have known causes. The most common out of these are.

 trauma or a high fever at birth.

 excessively rough handling or shaking of infants.

 certain drugs or toxins administered in large doses.

 Diseases or conditions that alter or disturb the balance of blood or its chemical structure.

 or diseases that damage the nerve cells in the brain.


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