Countering the Unpredictable: Brain Seizure Care Now Complex


Jessica Lovit, 20, was enthusiastically approaching summer school when unexplained seizures in her right arm and leg radically disrupted her plans.

Epilepsy can happen to anyone at any age—out of the blue.

-Robert Fisher, MD, PhD, Stanford Epilepsy Center Director

We've gone from very limited and not very successful options to what is now a complex specialty.

-Neurosurgeon Michael Edwards, Stanford Epilepsy Center

In a post-operative visit with Jessica, Dr. Fisher checks her ability to move her fingers, feel sensation and walk.

  • Symptoms: recurring seizures that can affect parts or whole body, including emotions and perception; triggers can include sound, smell or light.
  • Treatments: medication, surgery, diet.
  • Role of genetics: some forms of epilepsy seem to have a genetic component.
  • National statistics: Three million people in the U.S. have epilepsy. Men are more likely to develop the disorder than women; the incidence highest before age 2 and after age 65.
  • Research: Areas of basic interest include post-traumatic injury epilepsy, brain circuits underlying onset and spread of seizures, prolonged seizures, development of abnormal brain rhythms; clinical research includes forms of brain stimulation.
  • Resources: The Center's Web page at includes video lectures by Fisher and an extensive descriptions of types of epilepsy, seizures and treatments. Also, see:

For more information, call:

  • Stanford Hospital & Clinics: 650-723-4000
  • Stanford Epilepsy Center: 650-723-6469

I just want to keep going, to live a normal life. I don't want just to sit at home and be depressed.

-Jessica Lovit, patient, Stanford Epilepsy Center