Epilepsy is a condition in which someone has persistent seizures. A seizure is a brief disturbance in the normal electrical functions of the brain. An epileptic seizure may affect a person's consciousness, bodily movements or sensations for a short time.

Epilepsy: What You Need to Know

Personalized Care

We offer a comprehensive epilepsy program that helps patients and families manage the many issues epilepsy patients face. The University of Vermont Medical Center provides accurate diagnosis, optimal treatment regimens, counseling, drug research trials and epilepsy surgery.

Experienced, Trusted Expertise

As a university hospital and health system, our epilepsy team provides the most advanced care backed by research: we make all diagnostic and treatment recommendations based on the latest thinking in the field. Through patient education, we answer all your questions and help you become as informed as possible throughout your care.


Epilepsy is best managed by a group of highly skilled providers that include adult and pediatric epilepsy specialists, a neuropsychologist, a neurosurgeon and a neuroradiologist. At The UVM Medical Center, our physicians and other support staff work together as a team, providing expert care.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is defined by abnormal electrical activity in brain cells. Rather than a single disorder, epilepsy is a family of them. Symptoms can vary widely from person to person and with the type of seizure.

The exact cause of epilepsy is unknown in about half of those that are diagnosed with the condition. The other half may be traced to several factors, including:

  • Genetic influence
  • Head trauma
  • Medical disorders such as stroke or heart attack
  • Dementia
  • Diseases, especially those that affect the brain such as meningitis or viral encephalitis
  • Prenatal injury
  • Developmental disorders such as autism or Down's syndrome

Epilepsy is slightly more common in men than women.

Epilepsy: Diagnosis and Treatment

We conduct neuronal or brain mapping to determine the specific function of a particular brain area during epilepsy surgery, and offer specialized studies to diagnose epilepsy in our Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory, including electroencephalography (EEG), which records a patient's brain wave activity, and ambulatory and inpatient epilepsy monitoring.

Learn more about epilepsy diagnosis and treatment.

Find a doctor or specialist at The UVM Medical Center or call 802-847-2788.