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glossary - g

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Gamma knife surgery – a relatively new type of surgery that uses gamma radiation to destroy very specific areas of the brain such as an epileptic focus. Unlike other forms of epilepsy surgery, gamma knife does not involve opening the skull to reach the brain.

Gelastic seizures – seizures that start with the person looking like they are smiling or laughing. These seizures are more common in children and young people than in adults.

Generalised seizures  – seizures that happen in, and affect, the both sides of the brain from the start. There are many different types of generalised seizures but they all involve the person becoming unconscious, even just for a few seconds, and they won't remember the seizure itself. The most well-known generalised seizure is the tonic clonic (convulsive) seizure.

Generic name – the name of a drug that tells you what the active ingredient is (the chemical in the drug that makes it work). All drugs with the same generic name have the same active ingredient. Generic AEDs include sodium valproate and carbamazepine. See brand name.

Genetic – the information in the DNA in our cells that controls our characteristics, for example hair colour, sex and height.

Grand mal – another name for tonic clonic seizure. It means ‘big illness’ and does not describe what happens during the seizure: we tend not to use this term anymore.

Gyri – 'peaks' in the surface of the cerebrum.