Neurological Disorders

beginning with the letter...

Epilepsy is a fairly common neurological condition, affecting 1% of the population, in which one experiences recurrent unprovoked seizures.  A seizure is a transient symptom of abnormal, excessive or synchronous neural activity in the brain.  Partial seizures occur in a focal area of the brain while generalized seizures involve the entire brain.  Some seizures begin focally but become generalized.

In simple partial seizures consciousness is spared.  Complex partial seizures do not spare consciousness.  They often begin with an aura and involve wider areas of brain activity.  Complex partial seizures most often arise from the temporal lobes.

There are six classifications of generalized seizures.  They are abscence, myoclonic, clonic, tonic, tonic-clonic and atonic seizures.

Tonic-clonic, also known as gran mal seizures begin with a tonic phase during which a loss of consciousness and a dozen seconds of contractions occur.  This tonic phase is followed by a clonic phase in which can last up to two minutes.  During the clonic phase involves bilateral, rythmic contractions of the extremities of lessening intensity.  After the contractions they lie flaccid, immobile and unresponsive for several minutes.

Abscence seizures last around ten seconds and involve an abscence of movement or consciousness.

Three additional descriptors (ictal, post-ictal and interictal) are used to describe epileptic symptoms.  Ictal refers to symptoms that occur during a seizure.  Post-ictal refers to symptoms immediately after a seizure.  Interictal refers to symptoms that happen between seizures.


Types of Seizures


I. Partial

   A. Simple

   B. Complex

   C. Simple-Complex

II. Generalized

   A. Abscence

   B. Myoclonic

   C. Clonic

   D. Tonic

   E. Tonic-Clonic

   F. Atonic

III. Unclassified