Neurologist Naoum Issa, MD talking with a male patient in doctors office
Neurologist Naoum Issa, MD, is an expert in the treatment of epilepsy.

Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at the University of Chicago Medicine is at the forefront of epilepsy care. Many of our patients come to us after trying a number of different medications and therapies with little success.

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Leading Advancements in Epilepsy Care

Backed by the development of groundbreaking diagnostic techniques and a long history of research, our expert team has the experience to manage nearly all epilepsy-related problems from new onset seizures to rare and difficult-to-treat epileptic syndromes. With non-invasive technology and contemporary diagnostic techniques, we can pinpoint the origin of most seizures with precision. Having this advantage can significantly increase diagnostic accuracy and improve patient outcomes.

Recognized for Excellence

NAEC Level 4 badge

We’re recognized as one of the best. We have two nationally classified Level 4 epilepsy centers — one for adults and one for children. That is the highest possible classification granted by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers.

We offer continuous care throughout the patient’s lifespan. Doctors at the adult and pediatric epilepsy centers, combined into one comprehensive epilepsy center program, work together every day to make sure patients receive seamless care when they transition from childhood to adult care.


What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a chronic, neurologic disorder in which clusters of nerve cells sometimes signal abnormally, often causing a seizure. Seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy. When someone has two or more unprovoked seizures, doctors diagnose epilepsy. Symptoms vary depending on the type of epilepsy and seizure.

There are many types of epilepsy. Some types of epilepsy and epilepsy syndromes include:

What is a Seizure?

A seizure is a sudden surge of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Electrical activity in the brain is normal. It’s how our brain works. Seizures occur when there is significant disruption of that normal electrical activity in the brain. The general symptoms of seizures may include changes in consciousness, sensation, movement or behavior.

Is a Seizure the Same Thing as Epilepsy?

No. Not all seizures are caused by epilepsy. Approximately 10 percent of the general population may experience a seizure during their lifetime, but only 1 percent of the population has epilepsy. A single seizure may or may not progress to a chronic and recurrent condition or epilepsy. Epilepsy symptoms include recurring seizures with no main trigger. 

Types of Seizures

Although there are many types of seizures, epilepsy seizures commonly fall into generalized and partial (or focal) seizures. 

Generalized Seizures

Generalized seizures are characterized by widespread electrical discharges in both sides of the brain. You might think of it as a lightning storm in which the lightning seems to be coming from all areas of the sky at the same time.

There are six types of generalized seizures:

Partial Seizures

Partial seizures fall into one of two groups:

Stages of a Seizure