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What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy* is a disorder in the brains that may cause seizures (insults). These are caused by a sudden, anomalous activity of a group of brain cells (neurons), a ‘short-circuit’.  On the outside this is visible as a seizure.

When this happens frequently, it could be epilepsy. When epilepsy has been diagnosed – there are various types – medication can help in most cases to control the symptoms.

  • Via ‘Search glossary’ at the top of this page you will find an explanation of the various terms used.
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People with epilepsy

In the Netherlands there are approximately 120,000 people who suffer from an active form of epilepsy. A large part (appr. 70 percent) of these people react well to medication and has no or almost no more seizures. Epilepsy occurs in both children and adults; 15% more in men than in women.

Some people are born with epilepsy; in others it starts later in life. People with epilepsy usually have a normal intelligence. However, epilepsy occurs proportionally more in people with a mental disability.

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Specialized care for complex epilepsy

In approximately a quarter of the Dutch epilepsy patients the condition is complicated in such a way that (extra) examinations and/or treatment in a specialized epilepsy center such as the Academic Center for Epileptology Kempenhaeghe/Maastricht UMC+ is required.

A complicated form of epilepsy often requires the know-how of multiple specialists to establish a correct diagnosis (problem and cause) and treatment. At an epilepsy center, these specialists are in-house. In addition, specific examination methods are available and neurologists and other specialists are well-known with advanced treatment methods. In some cases, these methods can only be deployed via specialized epilepsy care. The epilepsy specialists have extra know-how and experience counseling children and adults with epilepsy.

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Research and cooperation: together we stand strong

Even though we know much about epilepsy, there is also a lot we don’t know. That is why in the Netherlands, much scientific research is done by the epilepsy centers and (academic) hospitals.

Kempenhaeghe’s research has evolved from the practice of specialized care en specialized education. In a close cooperation between academic centers, knowledge institutes and corporations in the Netherlands and abroad, new perspectives are developed, resulting in the continuous improvement of patient care and deepening of the know-how of epilepsy.

Kempenhaeghe thus invests in the quality of its care, diagnostics, treatment and counseling, and in disseminating its know-how of epilepsy. Especially for the still large group of people in whom epilepsy is still hard to treat.