Saturday, August 13, 2022

What Is A Brain Seizure

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How Can You Help Someone Having A Seizure

What is a Seizure?

While it can certainly be scary to witness a seizure, you can only do a few things to help, so you don’t end up injuring the person, or making it easier for them to injure themselves.

There are a few general steps to take if you witness a seizure of any kind, the CDC says. Those include:

  • Stay calm and keeping those around you calm
  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends and they are fully awake
  • Alert the person to what happened in a calm and comforting manner
  • Check to see if the person is wearing a medical bracelet or has other emergency medical information
  • Offer to help the person get home safely

Those guidelines change a bit when you recognize a person is having a tonic-clonic seizure . In that case, the CDC says you should:

  • Ease the person onto the floor and turn them on their side
  • Clear the area of anything hard or sharp that could cause injury
  • Place something soft and flat under the person’s head
  • Remove eyeglasses or anything that could restrict a person’s breathing
  • Time the seizure, and call 9-1-1 if it lasts more than five minutes

Note that there are a few things the CDC says you should absolutely not do, as well, like holding the person down or placing anything between a person’s teeth . The agency says you should also avoid giving the person food or drink until they are fully awake and alert.

How Are Seizures Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and your health history. Youll be asked about other factors that may have caused your seizure, such as:

  • Drug or alcohol use

  • Blood tests to check for problems in blood sugar and other factors

  • Imaging tests of the brain, such as an MRI or CT scan

  • Electroencephalogram, to test your brain’s electrical activity

  • Lumbar puncture , to measure the pressure in the brain and spinal canal and test the cerebral spinal fluid for infection or other problems

Controlling Seizures In People With Brain Tumors

Whether a person with a brain tumor has had one or 100 seizure episodes, controlling and preventing seizure activity is an essential part of their treatment.

In most cases, the seizures themselves do not pose a great health risk environmental hazards are of greatest concern.

Seizures don’t discriminate and can occur at any time, leading to possible injury of the person seizing and to those around them. There is concern about people seizing during routine activities like driving or bathing. Plus, there is a heightened risk of head injury from falling during an episode.

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Can Seizures Be Prevented

Some people who have seizures may get warning signs, such as a change in body temperature, visual problems or a strange taste in their mouth for example. If these auras occur, try to get to a safe place or position if possible.

Sometimes, other people can tell if someone they know is about to have a seizure. They may look different, their pupils may change size or they may act out of character. Again, if this happens, try to guide the person to a safe location.

Some people can prevent seizures by avoiding their triggers such as:

  • flashing or flickering lights

How Can I Help My Child Live With Epilepsy

Seizure Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

You can help your child with epilepsy manage his or her health:

  • If age-appropriate, make sure your child understands the type of seizure he or she has and the type of medicine that is needed.

  • Know the dose, time, and side effects of all medicines. Give your child medicine exactly as directed.

  • Talk with your child’s healthcare provider before giving your child other medicines. Medicines for seizures can interact with many other medicines. This can cause the medicines to not work well, or cause side effects.

  • Help your child avoid anything that may trigger a seizure. Make sure your child gets enough sleep, as lack of sleep can trigger a seizure.

  • Make sure your child visits his or her healthcare provider regularly. Have your child tested as often as needed.

Keep in mind that your child may not need medicine for life. Talk with the healthcare provider if your child has had no seizures for 1 to 2 years.

If your childs seizures are controlled well, you may not need many restrictions on activities. Make sure your child wears a helmet for sports such as skating, hockey, and bike riding. Make sure your child has adult supervision while swimming.

Seizures may affect your child’s ability to drive a vehicle. Talk with your child’s healthcare provider about the laws in your state.

Girls with epilepsy should talk with their healthcare provider about the effect of seizures on birth control and family planning.

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How Are Seizures Treated In A Child

The goal of treatment is to control, stop, or reduce how often seizures occur. Treatment is most often done with medicine. Many types of medicines are used to treat seizures and epilepsy. Your childs healthcare provider will need to identify the type of seizure your child is having. Medicines are selected based on the type of seizure, age of the child, side effects, cost, and ease of use. Medicines used at home are usually taken by mouth as capsules, tablets, sprinkles, or syrup. Some medicines can be given into the rectum or in the nose. If your child is in the hospital with seizures, medicine may be given by injection or intravenously by vein .

It is important to give your child medicine on time and as prescribed. The dose may need to be adjusted for the best seizure control. All medicines can have side effects. Talk with your childs healthcare provider about possible side effects. If your child has side effects, talk to the healthcare provider. Do not stop giving medicine to your child. This can cause more or worse seizures.

While your child is taking medicine, he or she may need tests to see how well the medicine is working. Your child may have:

Your child may not need medicine for life. Some children are taken off medicine if they have had no seizures for 1 to 2 years. This will be determined by your child’s healthcare provider.

Common Symptoms After A Seizure

Awareness, Sensory, Emotional, or Thought Changes:

  • Slow to respond or not able to respond right away
  • Sleepy
  • Feeling fuzzy, lightlheaded, or dizzy
  • Feeling depressed, sad, upset
  • Frustrated, embarrassed, ashamed

Physical Changes:

  • May have injuries, such as bruising, cuts, broken bones, or head injury if fell during seizure
  • May feel tired, exhausted, or sleep for minutes or hours
  • Headache or other pain
  • General weakness or weak in one part or side of the body
  • Urge to go to the bathroom or lose control of bowel or bladder

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What Happens After A Seizure

After a seizure has ended, there is a recovery phase before a person returns to their normal state. During this phase a person may be confused, tired or exhausted, sore or thirsty. They may feel weak, sick or anxious, be injured, have lost control of their bladder or bowel, or have a headache.

A person may or may not remember the seizure. It may take hours or days to get back to normal.

When To Call 911

What Happens in Your Brain During a Seizure | WebMD

The seizure lasts longer than 5-10 minutes . Timing the seizure with a watch is helpful because a brief seizure may seem longer than it really is.

Two or more seizures occur together.

There are injuries from the seizure.

It is the first seizure the person has ever had.

The person is pregnant.

If you have any suspicion that something is wrong, CALL. It is better to call too frequently than to avoid calling.

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Tips From Our Community

I use the My Medic Watch app on my smart watch, which can detect seizures and alerts people where I am. It has helped to give me more confidence when out and about.

Ive had seizures where I couldnt move at all but I could hear everything going on around me. So I told my family that it really helped if someone just spoke to me calmly as Id usually be panicking inside.

I know that lack of sleep lowers my seizure theshold, so I try to be aware of that.

I found the main thing was to try and stay calm, but it can take some time for the brain to settle back to some kind of normality. When the seizure has finished I usually feel very confused and emotional and sometimes a bit embarrased by it all.

Join one of our our Online Support Communities for more tips about coping with a brain tumour diagnosis, from people who truly understand what youre going through.

Frequently asked questions

Electroclinical Syndromes With Age


BFNE is a neonatal epilepsy syndrome in which seizures begin in the first week of life. Seizures are focal clonic or focal tonic, often accompanied by apnea. They usually stop after a few days or weeks. Except for seizures, the infants are normal and evaluation fails to detect an etiology. The key to the diagnosis is a family history of newborn or infantile seizures that resolved. The prognosis of BFNE is good, although 10%15% of affected infants continue to have seizures beyond the neonatal period, even into adulthood .

BFNE is the first epilepsy syndrome to be explained by a mutation in a voltage-gated ion channel gene. BFNE has been linked to two genes: KCNQ2 on chromosome 20q and KCNQ3 on chromosome 8q. These genes code for voltage-gated potassium channel subunits, which regulate the M-current, a muscarine-activated neuronal current that turns off potassium channels . The M-current stabilizes resting membrane potential its dysfunction leads to increased neuronal excitability and seizures. It is not known why seizures in BFNE affect neonates and then resolve because the genetic defect is present throughout life.


The interictal EEG pattern in WS is called hypsarrhythmia, a disorganized, chaotic pattern of very high voltage slow waves and spikes over multiple cortical areas. The classic ictal EEG pattern is a generalized slow wave followed by background voltage attenuation in all channels , accompanied by a clinical spasm.


LennoxGastaut Syndrome


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How Are Focal Seizures Diagnosed

A healthcare provider, usually a neurologist, can diagnose focal seizures based on the symptoms you had and diagnostic tests. These tests can usually confirm if you had a seizure and whether it was provoked or unprovoked. Genetic tests can also uncover inherited conditions that cause seizures.

A key part of diagnosing focal seizures is finding the focal point, a specific area where the seizure started. Locating the focal point can greatly help with treating focal seizures.

What Should I Do If Someone Im With Has A Seizure

Seizure types

If you’re with someone who’s having a seizure, there are several things you can do as part of seizure first aid. Some Dos and Donts include:



  • Dont restrain them. You could hurt the person or get hurt yourself.
  • Dont put anything in their mouth. There are many myths about seizures and epilepsy. One myth is that putting something in a persons mouth like a belt or spoon can keep them from swallowing or biting their tongue. ++Dont do this.++ You shouldnt put anything into the mouth of someone having a seizure. You could hurt them or get hurt yourself.
  • Dont panic. Stay calm. If others around you are panicking, reassure them as best you can. Nearly 98% of seizures don’t last more than five minutes.

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How Is A Seizure Treated And Is There A Cure

With provoked seizures, treating or curing the condition causing your seizures will usually make them stop. In cases where the underlying condition isnt curable or treatable, healthcare providers may recommend medications to try to reduce how severe your seizures are and how often they happen medications.

Providers usually recommend against treating first-time unprovoked seizures. Thats because theres no certainty that another will happen. An exception to that is if the person has a higher risk of having another seizure, or when a person has status epilepticus. Stopping status epilepticus is critical because it can lead to permanent brain damage or death. Healthcare providers can use your medical history and tests like EEG, CT scan or MRI scan to determine if you have a higher risk of having another seizure.

How Can Parents Help

If your child had a seizure, talk to the doctor about:

  • any medicines your child should take
  • any triggers that can make a seizure more likely
  • any precautions your child should take while swimming or bathing
  • whether your child should wear a medical ID bracelet
  • whether your child needs to see a neurologist
  • if its OK for your teen to drive
  • how to keep your child safe during a seizure. Share this information with caregivers, coaches, and staff at your childs school.

If your child has another seizure, keep a record of:

  • when it happened
  • what happened right before the seizure
  • what happened during and after the seizure

This information will help the doctor find whats causing the seizures and decide on the best treatment.

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Are There Special Risks Associated With Epilepsy

Although most people with epilepsy lead full, active lives, there is an increased risk of death or serious disability associated with epilepsy. There may be an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or actions related to some antiseizure medications that are also used to treat mania and bipolar disorder. Two life-threatening conditions associated with the epilepsies are status epilepticus and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy .

Epilepsy Syndromes Caused By Structural/metabolic/autoimmune Causes

What is a seizure?

Epilepsy syndromes, previously called symptomatic localization-related, are those in which seizures arise in a focal brain region caused by an acquired or congenital lesion. Etiologies include tumor, scar , cortical dysplasia, porencephalic cyst, and vascular malformation. The seizure semiology is related to the region of brain affected seizures often begin focally and then generalize. The interictal EEG will show focal spikes, sharp waves, or slowing, related to the area of brain involved. If neuroimaging results, EEG evidence of seizure onset, and ancillary data align, surgical intervention is considered.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Childhood Hemispheric Epilepsy Syndromes

Metabolic, Mitochondrial, and Autoimmune Epilepsies

Epilepsies caused by a metabolic, mitochondrial, or autoimmune etiology are increasingly recognized. Any alteration of neuronal energy metabolism or use could result in E/I imbalance and seizures. The role of autoantibodies to a variety of cellular proteins in patients with heretofore undiagnosed neurological deterioration is shedding new light on the ways in which epilepsy can manifest .

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What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose This Condition

Possible tests with seizures include:

  • Blood tests .
  • Ictal single-photon emission computed tomography .
  • Magnetoencephalography .
  • Intracranial EEG monitoring with subdural electrodes, depth electrodes or Stereo-EEG .
  • Spinal tap , when your provider is concerned that the epilepsy is caused by an infection or immunologic brain disease .

Providers might also recommend other tests to determine if you have any kind of injury, side effects or complications from a seizure. Your healthcare provider is the best person to tell you what kind of tests they recommend and why.

What Research Is Being Done On The Epilepsies By The Ninds

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use the knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world. The NINDS conducts and supports research to better understand and diagnose epilepsy, develop new treatments, and ultimately, prevent epilepsy. Researchers hope to learn the epileptogenesis of these disorders how the epilepsies develop, and how, where, and why neurons begin to display the abnormal firing patterns that cause epileptic seizures.

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Our Areas Of Innovation For Seizures

Physicians and researchers at Boston Childrens Hospital are constantly looking for safer, more effective treatments to help children live seizure-free. We typically have several clinical trials going on at any time. Our doctors are:

  • searching for and testing new anti-seizure drugs
  • developing better methods for diagnosing and treating seizures
  • looking for ways to prevent other conditions from triggering seizures
  • evaluating new imaging techniques that help surgeons avoid damaging functional brain tissue

Does Type Of Epilepsy Play A Role

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There are many different types of seizures, all with different characteristics. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, doctors have identified over 30 different types of seizures.

As such, research findings may not translate across different seizure types. For example, whats true for someone with temporal lobe epilepsy may not be true for an individual with a different type of epilepsy.

The effectiveness of medications may also play a role. For example, someone whose seizures can be managed using antiseizure medications may not experience the same effects as an individual with epilepsy whos body is resistant to medications.

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Diagnosing Epilepsy & Seizure Disorders In Adults

Specialists at NYU Langones Comprehensive Epilepsy Center have the resources and experience to diagnose the various types of epilepsy and seizure disorders that occur in adults, as well as those seen in children.

A seizure is an excessive surge of electrical activity in the brain that can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the parts of the brain involved. Symptoms may include a sudden and involuntary jerk of a hand, an arm, or the entire body. People having a seizure may describe smelling burnt rubber, have a strange feeling in the stomach, hear a ringing sound that becomes louder, or stare into space.

The term seizure disorder is often used interchangeably with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes a person to have two or more unprovoked seizures more than 24 hours apart. Unprovoked means the seizures are not brought on by a clear cause, such as alcohol withdrawal, heart problems, or hypoglycemia, which is when a person has extremely low blood sugar levels.

Seizures may be the result of genetics or of conditions such as brain trauma, tumors, dementia, or stroke. Often, the cause is unknown.

Seizures can last from a few seconds to up to several minutes. Some people may experience an aura, or warning symptoms, just before a seizure begins. An aura may involve smells, emotions, or mental experiences, such as a sense of déjà vu or out-of-body feelings.

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