SEIZED: Inside the Mystery of Epilepsy premiered May 2016

About the Program

Epilepsy is one of the oldest and most mysterious ailments. Striking the organ most responsible for our very humanity — the brain — it can cause terrifying and disabling seizures that come without warning, at any time, in many different forms. SEIZED: Inside the Mystery of Epilepsy tells powerful, intimate stories of patients, families and doctors fighting on the front lines for new treatments and new insights into this ancient disease.

Ouida, age 37, has complex partial seizures; she doesn’t lose consciousness or convulse, but she cannot respond and is unaware of her surroundings. She had her first seizure in 2006. One night her husband Brett woke up to a jerk in bed and saw Ouida completely stiff. Hoping for a cure, Ouida is taking a chance on a radical new surgery. A smart device will be implanted in her brain to detect a seizure and send electricity directly to try and stop it.

Ouida is one of three million Americans who have epilepsy. It affects more people than brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy combined. For almost one third of all patients, epilepsy is uncontrollable, unremitting and all-consuming.

Read more about the program below. 

A Closer Look at SEIZED: Inside the Mystery of Epilepsy

More about SEIZED: Inside the Mystery of Epilepsy

Caitlin is 26, and her seizures began when she was 18 months old. She has had more than 12,000 seizures in her lifetime, and many are unpredictable and violent. She takes massive doses of anti-epilepsy drugs, but they don’t stop her seizures and have life threatening side effects. Caitlin was running out of options when her family heard about a radical new treatment: a form of medical marijuana called cannabidiol or CBD. They immediately signed up for a CBD trial at NYU.

Lili’s seizures began when she was just six months old, and she is now 13. She has one of the worst seizure syndromes, which has left her profoundly disabled. Just like Caitlin, not a single drug has helped stop Lili’s seizures. So as soon as her family heard about the success of CBD, they also signed up to participate in a trial at NYU.

Even as doctors and patients push the frontiers of treatment forward, a fundamental question remains: What causes epilepsy? Two years ago, Andy had a massive seizure and woke up handcuffed to a gurney in the hospital. His girlfriend told him he had been violent, but he could not remember anything. Andy had served in the Army in Afghanistan, and in November 2010 a rocket grenade threw him down a mountain. His doctor suspects this blast caused a traumatic brain injury, which has led to post-traumatic epilepsy. For now, he takes medication to control his seizures.

SEIZED: Inside the Mystery of Epilepsy gives intimate and powerful portraits of life with epilepsy, each story with a unique set of struggles and achievements. Both lucid and emotional, SEIZED brings epilepsy out of secrecy and stigma and into a new era of hope.


For more information about SEIZED and resources for those experiencing
or caring for someone with epilepsy, visit 
TPT National Productions.

SEIZED: Inside the Mystery of Epilepsy was produced by Partisan Pictures Production.


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