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Epilepsy may be more complicated than once thought

There are many diseases that are not fully understood, which makes it possible that they are misunderstood. Epilepsy, which is best known for the powerful seizures it can create, is getting a fresh look from doctors and scientists after it appears many of the people diagnosed with it do not respond to the treatments once found appropriate for it.

Epilepsy affects around one in 26 people and is best defined by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures brought on by a veritable electrical storm can have effects ranging from memory loss to complete lack of physical control. Although many people respond well if not perfectly to the appropriate pharmaceutical treatments, some patients feel they are unfairly discriminated against by being barred from professions like driving and welding.

A big concern in the health care field is the approximately 30 percent of cases that do not respond to the many drugs available to treat epilepsy. Anti-seizure medications may help some people, but that depends on the root cause of the abnormal electrical activity as well as the type of epilepsy defined by diagnosticians. Causes range from genetic predisposition to brain infections, but in many cases, the cause is simply unknown.

This is a major problem is someone is misdiagnosed entirely, as there are other conditions, several of which are temporary that can cause seizures. Failure to properly diagnose the condition can lead to serious health problems and potentially even death.

Although it can never reverse the damage of a wrong diagnosis, legal action against doctors and health networks that cause the problem can help win financial damages for recovery as well as incentivize health workers to avoid future mistakes. An attorney is often the best consultant in these rare cases.

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