Temporal lobe seizure
Temporal lobe seizure
Temporal lobe seizures are seizures that originate in the two temporal lobes of your brain.
The temporal lobes process emotions, fight-or-flight reactions, and are important for short-term memory. Some symptoms of a temporal lobe seizure may be related to these functions, including having odd feelings — such as euphoria, fear, panic and deja vu.
During a temporal lobe seizure, you may remain partially conscious. Or, if the temporal lobe seizure is more intense, you may be unresponsive, even though you look awake. You also may make repetitive movements of your lips and hands.
Temporal lobe seizures may stem from an anatomical defect or scar. But the cause often remains unknown.
Temporal lobe seizures may be resistant to anti-seizure medications. Surgery may be an option for some people who don't respond to medication.
An unusual sensation, known as an aura, may precede a temporal lobe seizure, acting as a warning. Not everyone who has temporal lobe seizures experiences auras, and those who have auras may not remember them. The aura is actually a small seizure itself — one that has not spread into an observable seizure that impairs consciousness and ability to respond. Examples of auras include:
People who have temporal lobe seizures can remain partially conscious during a seizure, but they also may lose awareness of their surroundings and often don't remember what happened.
A temporal lobe seizure usually lasts 30 seconds to two minutes. Characteristic signs and symptoms of temporal lobe seizures include:
After a temporal lobe seizure, you may have:
In extreme cases, what starts as a temporal lobe seizure evolves into a grand mal (tonic-clonic) seizure — featuring convulsions and a loss of consciousness.
When to see a doctor
Seek emergency medical care if:
If it appears a grand mal seizure may be developing:
Often, the cause of temporal lobe seizures remains unknown. However, they can be a result of:
During normal waking and sleeping, your brain cells produce varying electrical activity. If the electrical activity in many brain cells becomes abnormally synchronized, a convulsion or seizure may occur. If this happens in just one area of the brain, the result is a partial seizure. When this occurs in an area of the brain known as the temporal lobe, it's called a temporal lobe seizure.
Each side of your brain contains four lobes. The frontal lobe is important for decision making and control of voluntary movement or activity. The parietal lobe processes sensory and spatial ...
Over time, repeated temporal lobe seizures can cause the part of the brain that's responsible for learning and memory to shrink. This area is called the hippocampus. Brain cell loss in this area may cause memory problems.
Preparing for your appointment
You'll likely start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner, then you'll likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist).
It's good to prepare for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. For temporal seizure, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
He or she may also ask questions to assess your thinking, judgment and memory.
Blood tests and scans
Your doctor may also suggest scans or tests designed to detect abnormalities within the brain.
Treatments and drugs
However, many people don't achieve seizure control with medications alone, and side effects, including fatigue, weight gain and dizziness, are common. In particular, the FDA has issued a warning that the drug Lamictal has been associated with a type of meningitis. Discuss possible side effects with your doctor when deciding about treatment options.
Surgery is generally not an option if:
Preparing for surgery likely involves talking to your surgeon about his or her experience, success rates and complication rates with the procedure you're considering. You may also want to request a second opinion before having surgery.
Before surgery, you'll need:
In some cases, surgery to implant intracranial electrodes may be necessary before finally deciding about temporal lobe surgery.
After surgery, most people need to continue taking medication to help ensure that seizures don't recur. However, successful surgery often means being able to reduce the dose, and some people are able to stop taking medication. Infrequently, surgery can lead to neurological problems. Discuss the possible risks with your surgeon before making final decisions about surgery.
Vagus nerve stimulation
Pregnancy and seizures
The risk of birth defects differs, depending on the seizure medication, and is considered to be higher in women taking more than one drug. The American Academy of Neurology recommends that women avoid using valproic acid during pregnancy because of risks to the baby. If your seizures can't be well controlled with any other medication, discuss the potential risks with your doctor.
Contraception and anti-seizure medications
Vagus nerve stimulation
In vagus nerve stimulation, an implanted pulse generator and lead wire stimulate parts of your brain to stabilize the abnormal electrical activity....
Lifestyle and home remedies
Certain activities could be dangerous if you have a seizure while doing them. Activities include:
Consider wearing a medical bracelet to help emergency medical personnel. The bracelet should state whom to contact in an emergency, what medications you use and your medication allergies.
Coping and support
Even after they're under control, seizures can affect your life. Temporal lobe seizures may present even more of a coping challenge because people may not recognize the unusual behavior as a seizure. Children may get teased or be embarrassed by their condition, and living with the constant threat of another seizure may frustrate children and adults. Poor self-esteem, depression and suicide are increased in people who have repeated seizures.
You may find it helpful to talk with other people who are in the same situation you are. Besides offering support, they may also have advice or tips for coping that you haven't considered. The Epilepsy Foundation has a network of support groups, as well as online forums for teens and adults who have seizures and for parents of children who have seizures. You can reach the foundation at 800-332-1000 or visit the foundation website. You can also ask your doctor if he or she knows of any support groups in your area.
Last Updated: 2011-06-25
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