Epilepsy in children


What is epilepsy and what causes it?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes a child to have seizures, which result from abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Epilepsy and seizures have many possible causes, including:

  • head injuries
  • birth trauma
  • conditions a child is born with, such as brain development disorders
  • brain tumors
  • heredity
  • degenerative brain disorders
  • stroke
  • metabolic problems

In more than half of patients, a cause cannot be found.

How is epilepsy treated?

Medication is the first line of treatment for epilepsy. There are many types of medications to treat seizures, including newer medications that have been developed over the past few decades. This gives us many options for treating seizures when traditional first-line medications don’t work.

When kids don’t respond to medication, we start to explore other types of treatments. These options may include:

  • diet therapy, such as the ketogenic diet
  • brain stimulation
  • surgery

Although there is no cure for epilepsy, most children with epilepsy can achieve good seizure control with treatment, and some can live seizure-free.

Why choose Boston Children’s Hospital?

Boston Children's Hospital is ranked the #1 children’s hospital in neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report. We are nationally recognized as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers for delivering the highest level of care, including comprehensive evaluation, testing, treatment and counseling for children with epilepsy and seizures. We are one of only a few Level 4 Epilepsy Centers in the country that is entirely dedicated to caring for children.

Our epilepsy team is sensitive to the many physical and emotional challenges that seizures can bring to children, adolescents and their families. We are devoted to helping your child live a seizure-free, fulfilling life. From your first visit to the Epilepsy Center, you’ll work with a team of professionals who are committed to supporting your child.