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n. a group of chronic brain disorders associated with disturbances in the electrical discharges of brain cells and characterized by recurrent seizures, with or without clouding or loss of consciousness. Symptomatic epilepsy is due to known conditions, such as brain inflammation, brain tumor, vascular disturbances, structural abnormality, brain injury, or degenerative disease; idiopathic epilepsy is of unknown origin or is due to nonspecific brain defects. Types of seizure vary depending on the nature of the abnormal electrical discharge and the area of the brain affected (see absence seizure; generalized seizure; partial seizure; tonic–clonic seizure). Epilepsy was formerly known as falling sickness. Also called seizure disorder. See also status epilepticus; temporal lobe epilepsy. —epileptic adj.

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March 1st 2024