Simon D. Shorvon, Renzo Guerrini, Frederick Andermann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


When the editors set out on the planning of this book, the idea that all the causes of epilepsy could be corralled into a single book seemed outlandish. Kinnier Wilson's memorable statement, that the listing of all causes of epilepsy would be an act of supererogation, echoed in our heads. However, as the book proceeded, it became clear that knowledge has now reached a level that a comprehensive text could be produced. This has been largely the result of advances in the past two decades in molecular chemistry and genetics and in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is now feasible to produce a comprehensive listing of all known causes, and this is what is attempted here. We hope the result will stimulate, and be a useful framework, for future studies. Knowledge though is, of course, incomplete, and in this final section, we point very briefly to six topics in which we predict that clinical and research work will advance knowledge and in which our concepts of causation may evolve in the next few years. Etiology in clinical practice No one doubts that the underlying etiology is a primary influence on many clinical aspects of epilepsy. However, it is remarkable how little etiology features in the broader management or the drug treatment of epilepsy. This is in spite of the obvious fact that etiology often determines prognosis and the response to therapy, and such knowledge also provides an explanatory model for patients to assist in the greater understanding of their epilepsy (the value of such self-knowledge should not be underestimated).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Causes of Epilepsy: Common and Uncommon Causes in Adults and Children
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9780511921001, 9780521114479
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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