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Pediatric Neurology - Epilepsy

​​​​​​​​​Children with epilepsy experience seizures, which are sudden uncontrollable events that occur when the brain sends out abnormal electrical signals to the body. 

Doctors can't always explain why a child has epilepsy. Certain factors, such as head injury, brain infection, stroke, or tumors can raise a child's risk for getting epilepsy. Epilepsy may run in families.


Marshfield Clinic offers a number of options for the treatment of epilepsy including:

Medications called antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are the primary treatment for epilepsy. In addition to AEDs, a child may also be prescribed special medications to stop seizures if they occur.

Brain surgery
Brain surgery can greatly reduce or eliminate seizures without causing loss of function. It impacts small parts of the brain that cause seizures, leaving the rest of the brain unharmed. In most cases, only people whose seizures start as partial seizures can have the procedure.

Vagus nerve stimulation
With vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), a device is put under the skin in the chest. The device is connected to a nerve in the neck called the vagus nerve. 

The device sends electrical impulses through the vagus nerve to the brain. The impulses have been shown to help reduce seizures.

Diet alteration
The ketogenic diet, which is very high in fats and low in carbohydrates, was first developed almost 80 years ago. 

It makes the body burn fat for energy instead of glucose. When carefully monitored by a medical team familiar with its use, the diet helps two out of three children who are on it and may prevent seizures completely in one out of three.​

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 Seizures Video

How Much Do You Know About Seizures?

A seizure is an uncontrolled electrical discharge from brain cells that causes mental and physical symptoms. Epilepsy is a group of chronic conditions in which a person has unprovoked, recurring seizures. Find out more about epilepsy and seizures by taking this quiz, based on information from the Epilepsy Foundation.

1. Although the characteristics of a seizure may differ from person to person, seizures are caused by the same thing:
2. Seizures can be caused by:
3. Epilepsy is most likely to begin in which age group?
4. A person with epilepsy needs how much extra sleep a night?
5. In some states, if you have epilepsy, you can get a driver's license only if:
6. Although exercise is good for people with epilepsy, some sports are not appropriate. Which of these is/are not?
7. Alcohol can be dangerous for a person with epilepsy because:
8. How does a health care provider diagnose epilepsy?
9. Which is the most common treatment for epilepsy?