Summary Epilepsy affects 65 million people worldwide and entails a major burden in seizure-related disability, mortality, comorbidities, stigma, and costs. In the past decade, important advances have been made in the understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of the disease and factors affecting its prognosis. These advances have translated into new conceptual and operational definitions of epilepsy in addition to revised criteria and terminology for its diagnosis and classification. Although the number of available antiepileptic drugs has increased substantially during the past 20 years, about a third of patients remain resistant to medical treatment. Despite improved effectiveness of surgical procedures, with more than half of operated patients achieving long-term freedom from seizures, epilepsy surgery is still done in a small subset of drug-resistant patients. The lives of most people with epilepsy continue to be adversely affected by gaps in knowledge, diagnosis, treatment, advocacy, education, legislation, and research. Concerted actions to address these challenges are urgently needed.
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