Neurology: Epilepsy

Photo: Rebecca Spiegel

Section Head: Rebecca Spiegel, MD



Epilepsy and seizures affect more than three million Americans of all ages, with about 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Properly diagnosed and treated, most people with epilepsy can expect to get their seizures under control. Patients who have persistent, recurrent seizures, or those with an unconfirmed seizure diagnosis, may benefit from the advanced diagnostic and treatment Sections from our Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

Seizures happen when nerve cells fire more rapidly and with less control than usual.  Epilepsy refers to a brain disorder resulting in recurrent seizures.  Epilepsy may be related to genetic factors, structural abnormalities of the brain, or abnormal brain metabolism.  Epilepsy can also present over one's life due to infection of the brain, trauma, tumors, or stroke. Epilepsy is diagnosed through a detailed medical history and electroencephalogram (EEG) to record brain wave patterns.  For a majority of patients, anti-epileptic drugs help control the seizures with acceptable levels of medication side effects. Diet can also be a treatment for some, specifically the ketogenic diet. These diets are prescribed by a physician and carefully monitored by a dietitian. When medical intervention does not control seizures (refractory epilepsy), surgical options can be effective.

Training the next generation of epileptologists is part of the mission of the department. Residents and fellows actively participate together with the attendings to provide hospital coverage and outpatient services through the Epilepsy Center and clinic. In addition, research and clinical trials are an important part of our mission, and patients may benefit from inclusion in these trials of the latest anti-epileptic drugs and treatments.

To learn about the Stony Brook University Epilepsy Center click here, or call (631) 444-4000.

Dr. Rebecca Spiegel received the EPIC (Extraordinary People in Care) Professional Leadership Award and Stony Brook Epilepsy Center received the corporate award from the EPIC Foundation in January of 2016 for their work in epilepsy patient care. Read More...