Epilepsy

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a serious and common brain condition that causes repeated seizures.

There are around 40 different types of epilepsy, widely ranging in complexity and seriousness. The severity of seizures differs from person to person.

Epilepsy is not normally life-threatening, although physical injury can occur as a result of seizures. In rare cases, epilepsy can cause death. Around 500 people in the UK have had sudden unexpected death caused by epilepsy (SUDEP) each year.

There is no cure.

Who is affected?

It is estimated that over half a million people in the UK have epilepsy - almost one in every 100 people.

Anyone can develop epilepsy, at any age, although it's more likely to start in early childhood and after the age of 65.

Individuals may develop epilepsy as a result of an illness such as stroke, or after a serious head injury, but in six out of ten cases, the cause is unknown.

How we help

We have funded research into Epilepsy to help understand why it occurs, improve treatments and to discover a cure.

Two major pieces of research that we have funded:

  • The testing of a new non-invasive, imaging technique to determine the suitability of patients for surgical treatment. Led by Professor Louis Lemieux, Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, UCL Institute of Neurology. Read more.
  • An ongoing observational study to help understand more about epilepsy and how it progresses. Led by Professor Ley Sander, Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, UCL Institute of Neurology. Read more.