Epileptic Seizures: Overview

  • Jerome EngelJr.
Reference work entry


Epileptic seizures are the principal signs and symptoms of epilepsy disorders. The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) defines an epileptic seizure as “a transient occurrence of signs and/or symptoms due to abnormal excessive or synchronous neuronal activity of the brain” (Fisher et al. 2005). The 1981 ILAE classification of epileptic seizures (Commission on Classification 1981), although still used, has been under review, and a number of proposals have been made for changes (Engel 2001, 2006; Berg et al. 2010). A more detailed overview of epileptic seizures is presented in the section on definitions and classifications at the beginning of this atlas.

Chapters in This Section

The organization of chapters in this section does not specifically adhere to either the 1981 ILAE classification of epileptic seizures or the changes suggested in more recent ILAE reports. Epileptic seizures are divided here into generalized and focal, although this is recognized as an...

List of abbreviations


International league against epilepsy



Original research reported by the author was supported in part by Grants NS-02808, NS-15654, and NS-33310.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerome EngelJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Jonathan Sinay Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology, and Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences; DirectorUCLA Seizure Disorder CenterLos AngelesUSA

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