This chapter begins with a discussion of the taxonomy of seizure disorders and the clinical features of epilepsy that pose methodological challenges in clinical and epidemiologic studies. Descriptive studies of incidence and prevalence are described for the following seizure types: partial, generalized tonic-clonic, myoclonic, and absence seizures. Risk factors for epilepsy are discussed in the context of case-control and cohort designs, and evidence is summarized regarding the role of non-genetic risk factors (traumatic brain injury, infections, cerebrovascular disease, brain tumors, degenerative CNS diseases, and developmental deficits). The chapter discusses factors associated with prognosis and mortality of epilepsy, as well as common causes of death in epilepsy patients. The final section addresses evidence for familial aggregation and genetic causes of seizures.
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