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What is Epilepsy?

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In this video, William Bell, MD, director of the comprehensive epilepsy center at Georgetown University Hospital, gives an overview of epilepsy. He explains that epileptic seizures consist of excessive discharge of electrical activity in the brain, which results in a change in the patient's movement, sensation, experience, or consciousness. Diagnosis involves taking a patient history, which often requires an observer to describe how the patient behaves during a seizure, and performing diagnostic tests such as an electroencephalogram (EEG), as well as possibly a CT or MRI scan of the brain. At times, diagnosis requires direct observation of seizures in an epilepsy monitoring unit in which the patient is monitored via video and EEG.