Understanding Epilepsy

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a condition in which a person has two or more seizures that happen on their own. A seizure is an electrical discharge in the brain that is not normal or can’t be controlled. Some seizures are caused by a high fever, low blood sugar or other medical condition.  In epilepsy, seizures are not caused by other health problems.

The symptoms of a seizure may be very different for different people. You may lose consciousness (awareness of your surroundings), fall to the ground and shake all over. Or you might have mild symptoms, such as twitching the fingers of one hand.

Seizures are either partial onset or generalized onset seizures. Types of seizures

The OHSU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

The OHSU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is Oregon’s only epilepsy program based at a health and research university. Our caring and skilled doctors, nurses, psychologists and scientists study, diagnose and treat epilepsy. Our doctors are experienced in treating epilepsy with both medication and surgery. We often work with other healthcare providers around the Pacific Northwest.

Outstanding Epilepsy Care

The OHSU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is the only Fourth Level Epilepsy Center in Oregon. Designated by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, it means we have the highest level of services and skills to treat people with all types of epilepsy, from mild to severe. 

Care in Our Clinic and OHSU Hospital

The OHSU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center sees patients at our clinic (medical office) and at OHSU Hospital.

Our clinic is located at the OHSU Center for Health & Healing in Portland’s South Waterfront District. We offer a wide range of services for your convenience. Laboratory services, medical imaging and electroencephalogram (EEG) are all available at our clinic, along with spectacular views of the Willamette River.

If you need to stay overnight for special tests, such as before epilepsy surgery, our new epilepsy evaluation unit has the  latest tests and services for diagnosing epilepsy. The unit is located in the Peter O. Kohler Pavilion at OHSU Hospital on Marquam Hill.