Epilepsy Syndromes

Epilepsy syndromes are defined on the basis of a set of characteristics, which include:

  • The type or types of seizures
  • The age at which seizures start
  • Causes of seizures
  • If seizures are inherited
  • The part of the brain involved
  • Factors that cause seizures
  • How severe and how frequent are the seizures?
  • A pattern of seizures by the time of the day
  • Certain patterns in EEG, during and between seizures
  • Findings from brain imaging, such as MRI or CT scan
  • Genetic information
  • Other disorders in addition to seizures
  • The prospects for recovery or worsening

Not all the syndromes are defined taking into account all these characteristics, but most of the syndromes will be defined by a series of them. Classifying a person as belonging to a certain syndrome often provides information on what medications or other treatments will be most useful. It can also help the doctor to predict whether seizures will go into remission (decrease or disappear).