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Epilepsy and Seizures

IntroductionWhat Is Epilepsy?, What Are Seizures?, Types Of Seizures, Causes Of Epilepsy

The brain is the body's computer. It takes in information, stores and retrieves it, and controls all the body's functions. The brain is a three-pound spongelike mass, with billions of neurons (in the form of brain cells) and blood vessels contained within it. The hard shell of the skull protects it.

Each brain cell has a specific job and is located in a specific region of the brain. Each region deals with a distinct body function, such as breathing, speech, memory, or movement. Brain cells constantly discharge electrical energy by sending signals through the body in an orderly fashion.

If signals are sent too rapidly or at an irregular rate, a seizure will occur. A seizure is any temporary disruption in the electrical activity of the brain. Seizures cause changes in a person's movement or behavior. They can produce major convulsions—uncontrollable, often violent muscle movements—or minor twinges and other strange sensations. People can have temporary disturbances in the brain cells without any changes in movement or behavior. These people are not having seizures. Seizures are sometimes called fits, spells, convulsions, and attacks.

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Science EncyclopediaEpilepsy