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Seizures (or convulsions) are temporary alterations in brain functions due to abnormal electrical activity of a group of brain cells that present with apparent clinical symptoms and findings. An isolated abnormal electrical activity recorded by an electroencephalography examination without a clinical presentation is not called a seizure.

Seizures are often associated with epilepsy and related seizure disorders[?].

Seizure is usually a sudden and involuntary contraction of a group of muscles. However, a seizure can also be as subtle as marching numbness of a part of body, a brief loss of memory, sparkling of flashes, sniffing an unpleasant odor, a strange epigastric sensation or a sensation of fear. Therefore, it is traditional to classify the seizures as motor, sensory, autonomic[?], emotional[?] and cognitive[?].

Seizure types are:

  • petit mal seizure (very brief loss of consciousness)
  • partial (focal) seizure (usually a motor or sensory seizure that is restricted to one side of the body)
  • partial complex seizure (characterized by brief loss of consciousness, behavioral, emotional symptoms, loss of memory and automatisms; temporal lobe and frontal lobe seizures are often in this category)
  • generalized tonic-clonic seizure (grand mal; motor seizure of both sides of the body)

It is still disputable whether a febrile seizure has to be regarded as an epileptic disorder or not. In general, a patient with two or more episodes of seizures is accepted to have epilepsy (a condition also known as a seizure disorder[?].) Many epileptics have auras before their seizures.

Major causes of seizures are head trauma, infection, tumor and metabolic alterations (e.g. low or high blood glucose levels). Many seizures have unknown causes.

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