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Epilepsy is a brain condition characterized by repetitive, spontaneous seizures. The seizures may appear in many ways, from a brief muscle jerk, to confusion and unresponsiveness, to generalized shaking and loss of consciousness. Epilepsy currently affects an estimated 3 million Americans.

The George Washington University Hospital Epilepsy Center, has been recognized as a "Level 4 Epilepsy Center" by The National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC), which is the highest distinction awarded by the NAEC. Level 4 centers meet the highest standard of care, provide the most in­tensive neurodiagnostic monitoring, as well as the most extensive medi­cal, neuropsychological, and psychosocial treatments available. 

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Quick, Personalized Diagnosis

The staff at GW Hospital Epilepsy Center includes a variety of professionals including neurologists, neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, neuropathologists, nurses, rehabilitation specialists and social workers. These specialists work together to develop person­alized epilepsy treatments and help those with with the condition and other seizure disorders live productive and independent lives. 

To accurately and effectively make a diagnosis, the center's inpatient and outpatient facilities is equipped with imaging and electroencephalogram (EEG) tech­nologies that map out the locations of abnormal brain activity. The center features 24-hour video-EEG monitoring of seizures, so pa­tients may quickly begin treatment following a detailed analysis and diagnosis of their condition. 

Continuous video-EEG monitoring is the gold standard for identifying episodes as either epileptic or non-epileptic. This is an important early step in the management of seizures or seizure-like episodes because people may have seizures for reasons unrelated to epilepsy, such as irregular heart rhythm or psychological stress. The video-EEG unit is also indispensable for patients whose seizures do not respond to antiepileptic medications as it helps identify which part of the brain is producing seizures. This information is essential for those patients and physicians making decisions about possible epilepsy surgery.

In addition to treating epilepsy, physicians at the GW Hospital Epilepsy Center are pioneering the use of technologically advanced approaches for diagnosis and treat­ment, including surgical interventions and deep brain stimulation (DBS), for movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease. By stimulating particular re­gions of the brain through DBS, physicians can improve the major symptoms of some movement disorders and may help reduce the amount of medication needed to manage symptoms more effectively.

Podcast: Epilepsy 101

Learn about the advancements in epilepsy diagnosis and treatment, including medications and surgical options, in this educational health podcast.

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