• Anne T. Berg
Reference work entry


Epilepsy is a collection of complex disorders of the brain, which involve a wide range of manifestations and which are due to a large variety of causes. The quintessential feature that defines epilepsy is the occurrence of epileptic seizures. Although many definitions, all fairly similar, have been provided in the past, The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) proposed the following definition of an epileptic seizure:

“A transient occurrence of sign and/or symptoms due to abnormal excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain.”

(Fisher et al. 2005)

Although there is little to quarrel with in this definition, it is worth noting that epileptic seizures are not simply a direct result of excess excitation. They result from an imbalance between inhibitory and excitatory influences (Scharfman 2007). In some instances, it is a loss of inhibition rather than specifically an increase in excitation that may lie at the...


Epileptic Seizure Febrile Seizure Epileptic Activity Epilepsy Syndrome Epileptic Encephalopathy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne T. Berg
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Professor, Department of BiologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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