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Epilepsy is a relatively common neurological disorder affecting up to 1-2% of the population. Childhood is a particularly active time for the development of epilepsy although seizures can occur at any age.

Much like cancer, epilepsy is not a single disorder but a large collection of specific disorders. These disorders share, as their unifying characteristic, the occurrence of seizures. Seizure control is a key priority in the treatment of epilepsy.

Increasing evidence raises questions about when we can know for sure that someone's epilepsy is fully resolved and in permanent remission. In addition to seizures, however, people with epilepsy, particularly epilepsy of childhood onset, often have other behavioral and cognitive difficulties. The implications of these "co-morbidities" for better understanding the nature, causes, and treatment of epilepsy are just now becoming the focus of research. The consequences to the individual in the long-term are also of tremendous importance.

Connecticut Study of Epilepsy

The Connecticut Study of Epilepsy is a longitudinal study of a prospectively recruited and followed community-based cohort of children with newly diagnosed epilepsy. The study has gone through three main phases.

The original goals of the study when it was first started in 1993 were to determine the risk and predictors of intractability in childhood onset epilepsy with special emphasis on diagnosing the specific form of epilepsy or syndrome. The International Classification of the Epilepsies had just been updated in 1989 and international guidelines for epidemiological studies were published in 1993. Thus the study was poised to incorporate this new diagnostic classification and new guidelines in a community-based setting.