The term epilepsy applies to a group of nervous
system disorders characterized by recurrent seizures, which are sometimes
called convulsions. A seizure occurs when there are abnormal bursts of electrical
activity in the brain. Although head trauma, strokes, brain tumors, brain
infections, and withdrawal from drugs (including alcohol) can cause seizures,
the recurrent seizures of epilepsy are usually idiopathic (of unknown cause). The February 4, 2004, issue of JAMA includes an article about treatments for epilepsy.