Epilepsy is a family of neurological disorders in which individuals experience recurrent and unexpected seizures. A seizure is a sudden disruption of normal electrochemical activity in the brain. This may cause loss of consciousness, strange movements, whole body shaking or visual distortions. There are many different types of seizures and these can vary in intensity from very mild to more severe.
It is estimated that epilepsy affects 50 million people worldwide. The exact cause is unknown for approximately half of all people diagnosed with epilepsy. For the remaining half, causes vary depending on age of onset. A lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery, abnormal brain development or metabolic disorders can cause epilepsy in newborns. For infants and children, epilepsy may be caused from fever, infections, head or brain trauma, genetic disorders or brain scarring. The onset of epilepsy in adulthood may be caused by stroke, or head or brain trauma.
Cognitive issues associated with Epilepsy
People with epilepsy experience a wide range of neurocognitive impairments. For adults, epilepsy may cause difficulties with maintaining attention, increased mental slowness and memory impairments. Children with epilepsy usually experience more extensive impairments which includes learning and language difficulties, behavioural problems, and poor academic outcomes.