Epilepsy is defined as a diverse set of neurological disorders characterized by seizures. These seizures occur due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Factors that may lead to epilepsy include, but are not limited to, brain trauma, gene mutations, strokes, brain cancer, and extensive drug and alcohol use. Seizures occur due to a large release of glutamate, which causes a spread of excitation throughout the brain, which propagates the electrical signal and can lead to neuronal death. Familial benign neonatal epilepsy is a rare autosomal dominant form of epilepsy, which is caused by mutations in the KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 genes, as well as by a chromosomal inversion. Seizures typically occur in newborns during their first seven days of life, and spontaneously stop within fifteen weeks. The child’s susceptibility to seizures is increased to 16%, compared to 2% of normal children, but there are no other side effects. About 50 million people have epilepsy, with 80% of that population located in developing countries. It is possible to control epilepsy with medicine, but many cases may require surgery in order to relieve symptoms.
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