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The Causes of Epilepsy 

The Causes of Epilepsy
Chapter:
The Causes of Epilepsy
Author(s):

Simon Shorvon

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199659043.003.0006
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date: 17 January 2020

Epilepsy can be the result of many different disorders. In this chapter, the range of underlying aetiologies is described. In most cases, the cause of epilepsy is multifactorial and the result of both genetic and acquired influences and also of provoking factors. Most cases of epilepsy can be classified according to the predominant cause (or presumed cause) into four categories: 1. Idiopathic epilepsy - which includes the ‘pure’ genetic epilepsies and the epilepsies due to presumed complex genetic mechanisms. 2. Symptomatic epilepsy – which includes cases of predominately genetic or developmental causation and those of predominately acquired causation. The genetic cases include: childhood epilepsy syndromes, progressive myoclonic epilepsies, neurocutaneous syndromes, other single gene disorders, chromosomal disorders of chromosomal function, developmental anomalies of cerebral structure. The acquired causes include: hippocampal sclerosis, perinatal and infantile causes, cerebral trauma, cerebral tumour, cerebral infection, cerebrovascular disorders, cerebral immunological disorders, degenerative disorders and other neurological conditions. 3. Provoked epilepsy – which includes provoking factors and reflect epilepsies. 4. Cryptogenic epilepsy – which includes cases of a presumed symptomatic nature but in which no cause has been identified.

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