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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ His only regret was that he could not drive, because of his epilepsy.
▪ I did a two-week placement at Epicraft, a local centre for people with epilepsy, helping them with their crafts.
▪ So that operation involved stimulation mapping with the patient awake, similar to the mapping that is needed during epilepsy operations.
▪ Some have epilepsy, speech or hearing disorders and other physical problems.
▪ The medical staff would like to know if you suffer from any physical disability or illness such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy.
▪ The resulting seizures are commonly regarded as a successful experimental approximation of focal epilepsy.
▪ The social stigma attached to epilepsy 3.
▪ These coupled with the family history of epilepsy prompted us to investigate with electroencephalography.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Epilepsy \Ep"i*lep`sy\, n. [L. epilepsia, Gr. ? a seizure, the ``falling sickness,'' fr. ? to take besides, seize, attack; 'epi` upon, besides + ? to take: cf. F. ['e]pilepsie. Cf. Catalepsy.] (Med.) The ``falling sickness,'' so called because the patient falls suddenly to the ground; a disease characterized by paroxysms (or fits) occurring at interval and attended by sudden loss of consciousness, and convulsive motions of the muscles.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1570s, from Middle French epilepsie (16c.), from Late Latin epilepsia, from Greek epilepsis "epilepsy," literally "a seizure," from epilambanein "to lay hold of, seize upon, attack," especially of diseases, but also of events, armies, etc., from epi "upon" (see epi-) + lepsis "seizure," from leps-, future stem of lambanein "take hold of, grasp" (see analemma). Earlier was epilencie (late 14c.), from Middle French epilence, a variant form influenced by pestilence. The native name in English was falling sickness.


n. (context pathology English) A medical condition in which the sufferer experiences seizures (or convulsions) and blackouts.


n. a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by loss of consciousness and convulsions


Epilepsy is a group of neurological diseases characterized by epileptic seizures. Epileptic seizures are episodes that can vary from brief and nearly undetectable to long periods of vigorous shaking. These episodes can result in physical injuries including occasionally broken bones. In epilepsy, seizures tend to recur, and have no immediate underlying cause. Isolated seizures that are provoked by a specific cause such as poisoning are not deemed to represent epilepsy. People with epilepsy in some areas of the world experience stigma due to the condition.

The cause of most cases of epilepsy is unknown, although some people develop epilepsy as the result of brain injury, stroke, brain tumors, infections of the brain, and birth defects. Known genetic mutations are directly linked to a small proportion of cases. Epileptic seizures are the result of excessive and abnormal nerve cell activity in the cortex of the brain. The diagnosis involves ruling out other conditions that might cause similar symptoms such as fainting and determining if another cause of seizures is present such as alcohol withdrawal or electrolyte problems. This may be partly done by imaging the brain and performing blood tests. Epilepsy can often be confirmed with an electroencephalogram (EEG), but a normal test does not rule out the condition.

Epilepsy that occurs as a result of other issues can be prevented. Seizures are controllable with medication in about 70% of cases. Inexpensive options are often available. In those whose seizures do not respond to medication, then surgery, neurostimulation, or dietary changes may be considered. Not all cases of epilepsy are lifelong, and many people improve to the point that treatment is no longer needed.

As of 2013 about 22 million people have epilepsy. Nearly 80% of cases occur in the developing world. In 2013 it resulted in 116,000 deaths up from 112,000 deaths in 1990. Epilepsy becomes more common as people age. In the developed world, onset of new cases occurs most frequently in babies and the elderly. In the developing world onset is more common in older children and young adults, due to differences in the frequency of the underlying causes. About 5–10% of people will have an unprovoked seizure by the age of 80, and the chance of experiencing a second seizure is between 40 and 50%. In many areas of the world those with epilepsy either have restrictions placed on their ability to drive or are not permitted to drive until they are free of seizures for a specific length of time. The word epilepsy is from .

Usage examples of "epilepsy".

Thorington of Philadelphia has seen a paroxysm of epilepsy induced by the instillation of atropia in the eye of a child nearly cured of the malady.

Even the physician can but suspect, till time develops more fully by hysterias, epilepsies, spinal irritations, and a train of symptoms unmistakable even if the finally extorted confession of the poor victim did not render the matter clear.

Neurologists admit that epilepsy may sometimes be linked to a schizoid process - this might have been the case with Van Gogh - but they define it as a chronic disorder, a continual tendency to fits resulting from an excessive discharge of cerebral neurones, whatever clinical or paraclinical symptoms happen to be associated with it.

Bulimia-Anorexia and Hypersexuality Following Pneumoencephalography in a Case of Psychomotor Epilepsy.

Numbers of all diseased--all maladies Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds, Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs, Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy, And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, Dropsies and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums.

Intra-cranial pressure builds up and part of the brain starts to atrophy, resulting in posttraumatic epilepsy.

But it sometimes happens that those who are already ordained as priests incur defects whereby they are hindered from celebrating, such as leprosy or epilepsy, or the like.

Applications of Studies on Stereotactically Implanted Electrodes in Temporal-Lobe Epilepsy.

The conditions in which bromides are most frequently used are insomnia, epilepsy, whooping-cough, delirium tremens, asthma, migraine, laryngismus stridulus, the symptoms often attendant upon the climacteric in women, hysteria, neuralgia, certain nervous disorders of the heart, strychnine poisoning, nymphomania and spermatorrhoea.

It is excellent in neuralgia, epilepsy, mania, amaurosis, whooping-cough, stricture, rigidity of the os uteri, and is supposed by some to be a prophylactic or preventive of Scarlet Fever.

People with temporal lobe epilepsy - involving a cascade of naturally generated electrical impulses in the part of the brain beneath the forehead - experience a range of hallucinations almost indistinguishable from reality: including the presence of one or more strange beings, anxiety, floating through the air, sexual experiences, and a sense of missing time.

Focal epilepsy starts with a wave of electrical activity in a relatively small group of neurons, from whence it spreads across much of the brain.

Experiments they thought could avoid ablative surgery for severe epilepsy?

After interviews have been compassed with long foresight, we must be tormented presently by baffled blows, by sudden, unseasonable apathies, by epilepsies of wit and of animal spirits, in the heyday of friendship and thought.

Immediately a place Before his eyes appeard, sad, noysom, dark, A Lazar-house it seemd, wherein were laid Numbers of all diseas'd, all maladies Of gastly Spasm, or racking torture, qualmes Of heart-sick Agonie, all feavorous kinds, Convulsions, Epilepsies, fierce Catarrhs, Intestin Stone and Ulcer, Colic pangs, Dropsies, and Asthma's, and Joint-racking Rheums.