This revision: 26th April 2013 .
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Epilepsy is a common and diverse set of chronic neurological disorders characterized by seizures. Some definitions of epilepsy require that seizures be recurrent and unprovoked, but others require only a single seizure combined with brain alterations which increase the chance of future seizures.
Onset of new cases occurs most frequently in infants and the elderly.
As a consequence of brain surgery, epileptic seizures may occur in recovering patients.
Epilepsy is usually controlled, but not cured, with medication. However, more than 30% of people with epilepsy do not have seizure control even with the best available medications. Surgery may be considered in difficult cases.
Not all epilepsy syndromes are lifelong – some forms are confined to particular stages of childhood.
Epilepsy should not be understood as a single disorder, but rather as syndromic with vastly divergent symptoms, all involving episodic abnormal electrical activity in the brain and numerous seizures.