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What is a seizure?

/ Source: The Associated Press

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

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.