How is epilepsy diagnosed?
The doctor’s main tool in diagnosing epilepsy is a careful medical history with as much information as possible about what the seizures looked like and what happened just before they began. A second major tool is an electroencephalograph (EEG) . This is a machine that records brain waves picked up by tiny wires taped to the head. Electrical signals from brain cells are recorded as wavy lines by the machine.
Brain waves during or between seizures may show special patterns which help the doctor decide whether or not someone has epilepsy. Imaging methods such as CT (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans may be used to search for any growths, scars, or other physical conditions in the brain that may be causing the seizures. In a few research centers, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is used to identify areas of the brain which are producing seizures.