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All about epilepsy seizures types of epilepsy common types of epilepsy types of seizures causes of epilepsy causes of children epilepsy factors triggering epilepsy symptoms of epilepsy diagnosis of epilepsy treatments for epilepsy epilepsy medications epilepsy surgery vagus nerve stimulation epilepsy diet prevention of epilepsy epilepsy in children pregnancy and epilepsy difference between seizures and epilepsy grand mal seizure absence seizure (petit mal seizure) febrile seizure epileptic seizures status epilepticus causes of seizures

What causes children epilepsy?

Epilepsy is characterized by repeated seizures that may occur as often as several times a day, or as infrequently as once every few months. Normally, millions of tiny electrical charges pass between nerve cells in the brain and throughout the body to control the body's many functions. Epileptic seizures are caused by unusual and strong bursts of electrical energy in the brain. There are many possible causes of epilepsy in children, including: problems with brain development before birth; lack of oxygen during or following birth; a head injury that leaves a scar in the brain; unusual structures in the brain;

tumors; a prolonged seizure with fever, or the after-effects of severe brain infections such as meningitis or encephalitis. When a cause can be identified, children will be described as having symptomatic epilepsy. The seizures are thought to be a symptom of the underlying brain injury.

Febrile seizures. Febrile seizures are caused by high fever and usually occur between the ages of three months and five years. Between 10% and 15% of children with epilepsy have a history of febrile seizures before they develop the disease. It should be strongly noted, however, that febrile seizures are quite common and occur in about 3% of all children under five years old. Nearly all are brief and have no long-lasting effect.

Genetic factors. Epilepsy may be the most common genetic neurologic disease, but dozens of genetic syndromes representing a variety of seizure patterns may account for the different forms this disease takes. To date, however, researchers have identified only two epilepsy syndromes that are known to be caused by single genetic defects:

Autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE). ADNFLE is now believed to be caused by an alteration in a receptor in the brain called neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine.

Benign familial neonatal convulsions (BFNC). BFNC appears to be caused by genetic defects that affect ion channels in nerve cells that carry potassium.

Vaccinations. In the womanng children, high fever from a vaccination can, in rare instances, trigger seizures, which are almost always temporary and have no serious consequences. Some controversy arose a few years ago over the possibility that the DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine might trigger epilepsy or other neurologic diseases. Some experts suggest that children who have neurologic events following their DTP shot already have a preexisting impairment such as epilepsy, which is revealed but not caused by the vaccine. Children with existing epilepsy may be at risk for seizures two or three days after the vaccination. Such a temporary worsening of their disease does not appear to pose a danger to the child. Infants with suspected neurologic problems may have their vaccinations delayed until their neurologic situation is clarified, but not beyond their first birthday.

Head injuries in infants and children. Infants are at high risk for head trauma. In fact, one study suggested that any infant with scalp fracture that occurs with a hematoma may be at risk for brain injury. A hematoma occurs after an injury when blood collects in a mass that usually looks like a large purplish area. It should be noted that hematoma is quite common after delivery when it typically causes no problems.

Childhood viral infections. According to a 2001 study of 22 children with status epilepticus (sustained periods of convulsions), viral testing uncovered the presence of several pediatric viruses. Human herpesvirus 6 was particularly associated with severe seizures. Herpesvirus 6 is common in children and causes roseola infantum, an acute illness that can lead to high fever and skin rash but is usually benign.

Hydrocephalus and shunts. Hydrocephalus is a condition that may occur in newborns and infants in which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) accumulates in the brain, leading to excessive swelling of the spaces in the brain ( ventricles). The resulting pressure can damage the brain's tissue. Hydrocephalus itself is not commonly known to cause seizures, but its treatment, which involves insertion of a shunt, may be. The shunt is a device that drains the excess fluid from the brain to other parts of the body, as well as to a special reservoir that allows the shunt to be reached through the skin. One 2001 study noted that between 20% and 50% of shunted children may experience epileptic seizures, particularly if the shunt is placed before age two. More research on its relationship to epileptic seizures is clearly needed.

Cortical dysplasias. This is an abnormality in fetal development in which the normal migration of nerve cells is altered.

Other causes in children. Seizures in infants and children may be due to birth defects, difficulties during delivery, or poisoning. Of note, melatonin, an herbal remedy available over the counter for sleep disorders, has been found to cause seizures in children who have existing neurologic problems.

More information on epilepsy (seizures)

What is epilepsy? - Epilepsy is a general term that includes various types of seizures. Epilepsy is characterized by unprovoked, recurring seizures that disrupt the nervous system.
What are seizures? - Seizures (or convulsions) are temporary alterations in brain functions due to abnormal electrical activity of a group of brain cells that present with apparent clinical symptoms and findings.
What types of seizures are there? - The two main categories of seizures include partial seizures and generalized seizures. A partial seizure can evolve to a generalized seizure.
What types of epilepsy are there? - There are several types of epilepsy. Epilepsy can be divided into two broad categories: idiopathic epilepsy and symptomatic epilepsy.
What're the common types of epilepsy? - The most common types of epilepsy are absence epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy, frontal lobe epilepsy, occipital lobe epilepsy, and parietal lobe epilepsy.
What causes epilepsy? - Epilepsy may be caused by a number of unrelated conditions, including damage resulting from high fever, stroke, toxicity, or electrolyte imbalances.
What causes children epilepsy? - There are many possible causes of epilepsy in children. Seizures in infants and children may be due to birth defects, difficulties during delivery, or poisoning.
What factors will trigger epilepsy? - The triggers of epilepsy include inadequate sleep, food allergies, alcohol and smoking, flashing lights, developmental anomalies, and brain tumours.
What're the symptoms of epilepsy? - There are many forms of epilepsy, each with its own characteristic symptoms. The basic symptom of epilepsy is a brief and abnormal phase of behavior.
How is epilepsy diagnosed? - Making an accurate diagnosis is vital in planning the correct treatment to control seizures. Taking a medical history can help rule out non-epilepsy conditions.
What're the treatments for epilepsy? - For most people with epilepsy, treatment can reduce or prevent seizures and allow many patients to remain free of seizures for the rest of their lives.
What epilepsy medications are available? - Epilepsy is often treated with medication, neurocybernetic prostheses. Medications available for the treatment of seizures include phenytoin, carbamazepine, divalproex.
What epilepsy surgeries are available? - Surgical techniques to remove injured brain tissue may be appropriate for many patients with epilepsy. The most common surgery for epilepsy is temporal lobectomy.
What is vagus nerve stimulation? - Vagus nerve stimulation is a recently developed form of seizure control which uses an implanted electrical device.
What epilepsy diet is suggested? - It is believe that a restricted caloric intake while on a balanced diet can lead to measurable seizure reduction among all age groups.
How to prevent epilepsy? - Effective actions for the prevention of epilepsy include adequate pre-natal and post-natal care, safe delivery, control of fever in children, control of parasitic diseases.
Epilepsy in children - Epilepsy is a common childhood disorder. The prospect of control by means of anti-epileptic drugs is good in most children with epilepsy.
Pregnancy and epilepsy - Women with epilepsy who become pregnant have a higher risk for complications than women who don't have epilepsy.
Difference between seizures and epilepsy - Seizures are a symptom of epilepsy. Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce a sudden burst of electrical energy.
What's a grand mal seizure? - A grand mal seizure is a seizure involving the entire body, usually characterized by muscle rigidity, violent rhythmic muscle contractions, and loss of consciousness.
What's absence seizure (petit mal seizure)? - Absence seizure e - also known as petit mal seizure - is a type of seizure that most often occurs in children.
What is a febrile seizure? - A febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child triggered by a fever. A febrile seizure may be as mild as the child's eyes rolling or limbs stiffening.
What are epileptic seizures? - An epileptic seizure, often referred to as a fit, occurs when there is an abnormal discharge of neurones in the brain.
What is status epilepticus? - Status epilepticus is a continuous seizure state. Status epilepticus is most often caused by not taking anticonvulsant medication as prescribed.
What causes seizures? - Seizures may be caused by many conditions, diseases, injuries, and other factors. Injuries that may cause seizures include choking, head injury.
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