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Understanding Epilepsy in Children
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Epilepsy is a condition in the brain where a person has at least two seizures over time. The basic working units of the brain are nerve cells called neurons. They send chemical and electrical messages to each other, as well as to glands and muscles. Everything we think, feel, and do is a result of this activity. Normally, these messages are sent in an orderly manner. If your child has epilepsy, groups of neurons send a lot of messages all at once. This abnormal surge of electrical activity is called a seizure. There are many types of seizures, but they can be grouped into two main categories. The first category, called generalized seizures, affects the whole brain all at once. The second category of seizures is called partial or focal seizures. They affect only one part of the brain. Symptoms can vary depending on the type of seizure. Symptoms may include loss of consciousness, muscles spasms, strange sensations, seeing or smelling things that aren't there, confusion, staring into space, or rapid blinking. Most seizures last from a few seconds to a few minutes without causing harm. If a seizure lasts longer than five minutes or if a person is hurt or in distress during the seizure, call 911. In most cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown, but it may be caused by other conditions in the brain such as injuries, infections, birth defects, strokes, or tumors. If you have questions about epilepsy, talk to your healthcare provider.