updated 7/31/2007 11:34:21 AM ET 2007-07-31T15:34:21

Doctors say Chief Justice John Roberts suffered "a benign idiopathic seizure" Monday at his summer home in Maine.

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It was his second seizure in the last 15 years.

A seizure is like a little storm in the brain's electrical system. The resulting symptoms can range from a few minutes' blank stare to a full-scale collapse and loss of consciousness.

Fevers frequently trigger seizures. Sometimes they're a sign of infection. Very low blood sugar and dehydration also can trigger one. Simple emergency room tests can rule those out.

When there's no apparent underlying cause, doctors label it a benign seizure. It's not all that rare for a usually healthy person to have one.

Neurologists define someone who has had more than one seizure an epileptic. Epilepsy is merely a term for a seizure disorder.

There are medications that can help prevent another seizure.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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