4. Epidemiology of Seizures and Epilepsy

  1. John W. Miller MD, PhD Director, UW Regional Epilepsy Center, Professor of Neurology and Neurological Surgery4 and
  2. Howard P. Goodkin MD, PhD The Shure Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, Director, Division of Pediatric Neurology5
  1. Aidan Neligan1,2 and
  2. Josemir W. Sander1,2,3

Published Online: 10 JAN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118456989.ch4



How to Cite

Neligan, A. and Sander, J. W. (2014) Epidemiology of Seizures and Epilepsy, in Epilepsy (eds J. W. Miller and H. P. Goodkin), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118456989.ch4

Editor Information

  1. 4

    University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

  2. 5

    Department of Neurology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Clinical & Experimental Epilepsy, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK

  2. 2

    Epilepsy Society, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, UK

  3. 3

    SEIN-Epilepsy Institute in The Netherlands Foundation, Heemstede, The Netherlands

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 10 JAN 2014
  2. Published Print: 14 FEB 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118456941

Online ISBN: 9781118456989



  • epidemiology;
  • epilepsy;
  • seizure;
  • incidence;
  • outcome;
  • premature mortality;
  • prevalence;
  • prognosis;
  • remission;
  • standardized mortality ratio


We review basic epidemiological concepts and methodological issues that apply to the ascertainment of the epidemiological indices of epilepsy. Specific issues that hinder epilepsy epidemiological studies are described and strategies employed to overcome them discussed. The incidence and prevalence of epilepsy in different populations, age groups, and settings are briefly reviewed. Similarly, the prognosis for people with seizures and epilepsy is evaluated with particular attention to the relative impact of individual prognostic factors. The risk of premature mortality in people with epilepsy is discussed and we examine some factors that may be driving this consistently higher than expected mortality. We highlight areas such as the epidemiology of specific epileptic syndromes in which there is a marked deficit and urgent research needed.