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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.

Treatments

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

Medication
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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