Signs of a Seizure: March 29, 2011

When you hear the word 'seizure', what comes to mind? "What most parents frequently associate with seizure is the full body convulsion that we may see in the media." The Children's Hospital pediatric neurologist, Dr. Jose Colon says this is simply not true. "There are other types of seizure disorders. For example, absence seizure is a type of seizure that you have an alteration of awareness. You're staring or not responsive for a moment." When a person has an absense seizure, it simply looks like they are staring off into space. This can happen multiple times in a day.

"Other types of seizure disorders are called complex-partial seizures," says Dr. Colon. "Complex means enough of the rain is involved to where it alters your awareness. Partial means it's coming from one part of the brain. Whichever part of the brain that is, you may have hand jerking on one side, or mouth twitching on a particular side." It's this particular seizure that can develop into something more severe. "A complex partial seizure can then spread throughout the rest of the brain and then generalize throughout the brain and cause a full blown convulsion. These are called generalized tonic clonic seizures or Grand Mal seizures."

Seizures, which are triggered by intense electrical activity in the brain, normally last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. "If there is any concern of seizures, or alter of awareness of any type, this should be discussed with the pediatrician to see if a pediatric neurological consultation is warranted."

Seizures, especially in children, can be either genetic or could be the result of a developmental issue in the brain. There are a variety of prescription medications that have helped in reducing seizure episodes.