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Epilepsy and disorders of consciousness 

Epilepsy and disorders of consciousness
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date: 05 March 2021

Epilepsy is a common, serious neurological disease, with prevalence of 1% and a cumulative lifetime risk of 5%. An epileptic seizure is a transient occurrence of signs and/or symptoms due to abnormal excessive, synchronous neuronal activity. Epilepsy is defined as a disorder of the brain characterized by an enduring predisposition to generate epileptic seizures and by the neurobiological, cognitive, psychological, and social consequences of this condition. Traditionally epilepsy was diagnosed after a patient had two or more unprovoked seizures. However, a more modern definition of epilepsy would also include patients who have had an isolated seizure and have evidence for an enduring alteration in the brain that increases the likelihood of future seizures such as an ‘epileptiform’ electroencephalogram abnormality or an appropriate lesion on structural brain imaging (CT or MRI). Epilepsy cannot, though, be diagnosed unless there has been at least one clinical event compatible with an unprovoked seizure.

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