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Managing epilepsy in childhood

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Epilepsy has many causes and can occur at any age.1-3 Almost one per cent of people develop epilepsy during their lifetime.3 New cases of epilepsy are most commonly seen in infants during the first year, with the rate of new cases gradually declining until 10 years of age. It then becomes stable and a second peak is seen after 60 years of age, when the rate starts to increase again.3,4 It is estimated that epilepsy affects around 112,000 young people under 25 years of age in the UK.2 It is further estimated that 50 per 100,000 of the population are newly diagnosed with epilepsy per year, and the prevalence of active epilepsy is estimated to be five to 10 cases per 1000.1

The International League Against Epilepsy and International Bureau for Epilepsy have defined epilepsy as a disorder of the brain characterized by an enduring predisposition to generate epileptic seizures and by the neurobiological, cognitive, psychological, and social consequences of this condition.5 NICE defines epilepsy as a common neurological disorder characterised by recurring seizures.1 The definition of epilepsy requires the occurrence of at least one epileptic seizure.5

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