Petit mal or absence epilepsy is characterized by a short-lasting interruption of awareness accompanied by a characteristic brain electrographic pattern. Discovering the pathology of this disorder is key to understanding both epileptogenesis and abnormalities of consciousness. Despite more than 50 years of research, the origin and mechanisms of this condition remain obscure; the action of drugs which alleviate petit mal is poorly understood; the state of awareness in patients between absence attacks remains uncertain. Consequently, petit mal continues to be a focus of research for neuroscientists and clinicians. This collection, contributed by authorities in the field, highlights the recent advances in a number of diverse research areas, some of them utilizing the exploding technology of our age. The book raises many questions which it is hoped will stimulate research into this fascinating and poorly-understood disorder.