What is a Seizure?

A seizure is caused by a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. Seizures are not a disease in themselves. Instead, they are a symptom of many different disorders that can affect the brain. Some seizures can hardly be noticed, while others are totally disabling.

What Causes a Seizure?

Common causes of seizures in newborns

  • Brain malformations
  • Lack of oxygen during birth
  • Irregular metabolic levels, including low blood glucose, calcium, or magnesium and high ammonia and lactate
  • Inborn errors of metabolism
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Maternal drug use 

Common causes of seizures in infants and children

  • Fever (febrile seizures)
  • Brain tumor (rarely)
  • Infections
  • Congenital conditions (Down Syndrome; Angelman's Syndrome; Tuberous Sclerosis and Neurofibromatosis)
  • Genetic factors
  • Progressive brain disease (rare)
  • Head trauma

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Signs and Symptoms

Learn more about the signs & symptoms of different types of seizures.