Partial Seizures

'Partial Seizures' image

In these the disturbances in brain activity begins in or involves a distinct area of the brain. The nature of these seizures is usually determined by the function of the part of the brain that is involved.

Partial seizures are sometimes known as "focal". It is incorrect to call these seizures "petit mal". There are basically three types of partial seizure- simple partial, complex partial and secondarily generalised.

Simple Partial Seizures

In simple partial seizure consciousness is not impaired and the seizure is confined to either rhythmical twitching of one limb or part of a limb or unusual sensations, such as pins and needles in a distinct part of the body.

Complex Partial Seizures

Complex Partial Epilepsy is so called because it arises from one area within the brain rather than the entire brain. This type of epilepsy is often referred to as Temporal Lobe Epilepsy or Psychomotor Epilepsy as the seizures more commonly arise from the temporal lobes of the brain - however, they may arise from other lobes also.

If a partial seizure spreads to involve areas of the brain concerned with consciousness it becomes a complex partial seizure. Partial seizures arising in the temporal lobe are especially likely to behave in this way. The initial part of these seizures may consist of a strange feeling welling up from the stomach, an unusual taste or smell or some other sensory disturbance. This is called an "Aura". The Seizures may then be characterised by a change in awareness as well as "semi-purposive" movements (such as fiddling with clothes or nearby objects and wandering about) and general confusion.

Complex partial seizures from the temporal lobes result from excessive electrical activity beginning in the temporal lobes which control emotions, sensations, short term memory and sexual feelings.

Secondary Generalised

Partial activity may remain confined to one area or spread to the rest of the brain to cause a secondarily generalised seizure.