Report of the ILAE Classification Core Group


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jerome Engel, Jr., Reed Neurological Research Center, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769, U.S.A. E-mail:


Summary:  A Core Group of the Task Force on Classification and Terminology has evaluated the lists of epileptic seizure types and epilepsy syndromes approved by the General Assembly in Buenos Aires in 2001, and considered possible alternative systems of classification. No new classification has as yet been proposed. Because the 1981 classification of epileptic seizure types, and the 1989 classification of epilepsy syndromes and epilepsies are generally accepted and workable, they will not be discarded unless, and until, clearly better classifications have been devised, although periodic modifications to the current classifications may be suggested. At this time, however, the Core Group has focused on establishing scientifically rigorous criteria for identification of specific epileptic seizure types and specific epilepsy syndromes as unique diagnostic entities, and is considering an evidence-based approach. The short-term goal is to present a list of seizure types and syndromes to the ILAE Executive Committee for approval as testable working hypotheses, subject to verification, falsification, and revision. This report represents completion of this work. If sufficient evidence subsequently becomes available to disprove any hypothesis, the seizure type or syndrome will be reevaluated and revised or discarded, with Executive Committee approval. The recognition of specific seizure types and syndromes, as well as any change in classification of seizure types and syndromes, therefore, will continue to be an ongoing dynamic process. A major purpose of this approach is to identify research necessary to clarify remaining issues of uncertainty, and to pave the way for new classifications.