Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Absence Seizure Overview

Another name for Absence Seizure is Petit-Mal Seizures.

What are petit-mal seizures?
A person with petit-mal seizures has abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes short episodes of staring and loss of awareness. The cause for petit-mal seizure is unknown. Petit-mal seizures occur most commonly in children between the ages of 6 and 12 years. In most cases, medications effectively prevent petit-mal seizures.

What are the symptoms of petit-mal seizures?
Common symptoms of petit-mal seizures include brief episodes of staring, loss of attention, and loss of awareness. Additional symptoms include rapid eye blinking, chewing movements, and lip smacking during the episode. Usually, a person who experiences a petit-mal seizure has no memory of the episode, but remembers events prior to the episode and is fully alert after the episode.

How does the doctor treat petit-mal seizures?
Treatment for petit-mal seizures includes a ketogenic diet and anticonvulsant medications.

Continue to Absence Seizure Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Absence Seizure References
  1. Camfield P, Camfield C. Epileptic syndromes in childhood: clinical features, outcomes, and treatment. Epilepsia. 2002;43 Suppl 3:27-32. [12060004]
  2. Chen LS, Wang N, Lin MI. Seizure outcome of intractable partial epilepsy in children. Pediatr Neurol. 2002 Apr;26(4):282-7. [11992755]
  3. Herman ST, Walczak TS, Bazil CW. Distribution of partial seizures during the sleep--wake cycle: differences by seizure onset site. Neurology. 2001 Jun 12;56(11):1453-9. [11402100]
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