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Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures over time. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause changes in attention or behavior.

Epilepsy occurs when permanent changes in the brain cause it to be too excitable or irritable. As a result, the brain sends out abnormal signals. This leads to repeated, unpredictable seizures. (A single seizure that does not happen again is not epilepsy.)

Epilepsy may be due to a medical condition or injury that affects the brain. Or the cause may be unknown (idiopathic).

Common causes of epilepsy include:

• Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
• Dementia, such as Alzheimer disease
• Traumatic brain injury
• Infections, including brain abscess, meningitis, encephalitis, and HIV/AIDS
• Brain problems that are present at birth (congenital brain defect)
• Brain injury that occurs during or near birth
• Metabolism disorders present at birth (such as phenylketonuria)
• Brain tumor
• Abnormal blood vessels in the brain
• Other illness that damages or destroys brain tissue
• Epileptic seizures usually begin between ages 5 and 20. But they can happen at any age. There may be a family history of seizures or epilepsy.

The Neurology Center of New England provides specialized diagnosis and treatment for Epilepsy. Please contact us today for more information.