Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder which is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The area of the brain in which seizures start is called “the seizure focus”. In this area, the normal electrical signaling of the brain is not totally controlled. If the excitability gets out of control, a seizure arises. Seizures can affect any process that brain coordinates. Apart from seizure as a main symptom, other related symptoms vary depending on the type and severity of seizure. Seizures can be classified into 2 major types based how the abnormal brain activity begins.
- Focal seizures or partial seizure. When seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one area of the brain These seizures fall into two categories which are simple partial seizure (without loss of consciousness) and complex partial seizure with impaired awareness.
- Generalized seizures.A generalized seizure starts when all areas of the brain are affected by an abnormal electrical impulse.
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To detect brain abnormalities and identify the origin of seizure (epileptogenic lesion), tests may include:
- Electroencephalogram (EEG). It is the most common test used to diagnose epilepsy. During the test, electrodes are attached to the scalp with a paste-like substance or cap for 20-30 minutes. The electrodes record the electrical activity of the brain and identify seizure focus which is the site in the brain from which the seizure originated with abnormal electrical impulses.
- Video EEG Monitoring (VEM). EEG-video monitoring refers to continuous EEG recorded for a more or less prolonged period with simultaneous video recording during the clinical manifestations of seizure while patient is hospitalized. Having a correlation of the recorded patient’s behavior as video and the EEG activity, the site that originates seizure can be pinpointed more precisely, compared to EEG.
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