Classification of Epilepsies Updated
26 March, 2017

Classification of Epilepsies Updated

/ 3 years ago

The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) recently updated the system used to classify different types of epilepsy. It is hoped that the new system will pave the way to better research, diagnosis, and treatments in epilepsy.

In a press release, Professor Ingrid Scheffer, a paediatric nephrologist and professor at The University of Melbourne said: “The new classification will help clinicians to think more deeply about each patient so that they can improve their care with optimised treatment and understanding of their disease. It will also be used for research into the epilepsies and to frame collaborative approaches that will lead to greater insights into this important group of diseases.”

It is important to have a thorough classification system as “applying the right therapy often depends upon knowing the precise type of seizure,” according to Dr Robert Fisher, the director of the Stanford Epilepsy Center. The last classification related to epilepsy was published in the 1980s and failed to capture many types of seizures.

According to Dr Fisher, the new classification system may also help patients and families better understand the name of their seizures. “[F]or example, a ‘focal aware seizure’ is more understandable than is the old term ‘simple partial seizure’,” he said.

The 2017 ILAE seizure classification includes the whole clinical picture of epilepsy underlining the potential causes of the condition. Groupings the different types of seizures in this way could lead to the advancement of research and the development of potential new treatments.

Three research articles outlining the changes in the new classification and providing guidance on how to use it in clinical practice have been published back to back in the scientific journal Epilepsia. They are titled “Operational Classification of Seizure Types by the International League Against Epilepsy”, “ILAE classification of the epilepsies. Position paper of the ILAE Commission for Classification and Terminology”, and “Instruction Manual for the ILAE 2017 Operational Classification of Seizure Types”.

The original article, written by Dr Özge Özkaya can be found at epilepsyresearch.org.uk.

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