In recent years, different research lines have examined the epileptogenic process in order to understand the different stages in this process, and with the hope that early recognition and intervention could prevent chronic epilepsy in patients with epileptic seizures. In animals, acquired epilepsy is studied most commonly with kindling models, status epilepticus models and traumatic brain injury models. Molecular genetic studies substantially help to understand age-specific channel and receptor abnormalities. Major progress has been made in recent years and we are now waiting for the first large scale multi-center clinical trials that test the possible anti-epileptogenic properties of anti-epileptic drugs or other compounds in well defined patient groups. In clinical practice, a structured diagnostic work-up in all patients with recurrent seizures is a first and necessary step in the recognition of patients at risk for developing chronic and refractory epilepsy.