Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018
The term ‘epilepsy’ refers to a tendency to have recurrent seizures. Epileptic seizures arise from an imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory cerebral neurotransmitters associated with sudden, paroxysmal, synchronous and repetitive discharges of neurones. All normal brains have the capability to have seizures. Epileptic seizures arise where there is lowering of the naturally occurring seizure threshold. Excitotoxins such as glutamate released in the brain during seizures can cause irreversible cell damage. Young children are especially vulnerable. Prolonged seizures (greater than 30 minutes) in children correlate with subsequent learning disability.