Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Focal Seizures Overview

Another name for Focal Seizures is Seizures.

What are seizures?
A person with seizures has a sudden increase in electrical activity in the brain, which causes the brain to malfunction. Not all seizures are the same. Some involve just a small portion of the brain, while others spread to involve most of the brain. A person with epilepsy suffers from multiple episodes of seizures. About 200,000 people experience a seizure for the first time each year in the US. Common causes for seizures include epilepsy, head injury, encephalitis, alcohol or drug withdrawal, and stroke.

What are the symptoms of seizures?
The symptoms of seizures vary according to the type of seizure. Symptoms of seizures may include the feeling that a seizure is about to occur, episodes of staring, confusion, loss of awareness, loss of consciousness, convulsions, tongue biting, and coma. Convulsions may involve the entire body, or they may be limited to one location, such as the arm, leg or face. Additional symptoms include anxiousness, involuntary vocal outbursts, or emotional outbursts.

How does the doctor treat seizures?
Treatment for seizures includes anticonvulsant medications. Additional treatment of seizures may include surgery, or a vagus nerve stimulation implant, which sends electrical impulses through a nerve in the chest, to the brain. The impulses suppress the electrical activity in the brain that causes the seizures.

Continue to Focal Seizures 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 Focal Seizures References
  1. Alsaadi TM, Marquez AV. Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Sep 1;72(5):849-56. [16156345]
  2. Camfield P, Camfield C. Epileptic syndromes in childhood: clinical features, outcomes, and treatment. Epilepsia. 2002;43 Suppl 3:27-32. [12060004]
  3. Kinsman SL, Vining EP, Quaskey SA, Mellits D, Freeman JM. Efficacy of the ketogenic diet for intractable seizure disorders: review of 58 cases. Epilepsia. 1992 Nov-Dec;33(6):1132-6. [1464275]
  4. Pearl PL, Bennett HD, Khademian Z. Seizures and metabolic disease. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2005 Mar;5(2):127-33. [15743550]
  5. Posner EB, Mohamed K, Marson AG. A systematic review of treatment of typical absence seizures in children and adolescents with ethosuximide, sodium valproate or lamotrigine. Seizure. 2005 Mar;14(2):117-22. [15694565]
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