Seizures occur when there is an uncontrolled, excessive, and synchronous neuronal activity in the brain causing sudden, transient changes in motor function, sensation, behavior, or mental status. They are classified primarily as generalized or focal. Seizures may occur once or be recurrent, which is the case in epilepsy.
Previous knowledge required: For optimal comprehension, the student must be familiarized with the physiology of neuronal action potentials, the concepts of depolarization, hyperpolarization, and repolarization, distribution of different aspects of functioning throughout the cerebral cortex, and the basics behind electroencephalogram (EEG) tracings.
The avid clinician will be able to roughly tell which parts of the neural cortex are affected during a seizure based on the specific clinical presentation. Although commonly represented in the media, seizures, and epilepsy may have varying prevalence and incidence, depending on the physician’s place of practice. Nevertheless, it’s vital for a competent clinician to understand how to promptly recognize and act when presented with a seizing episode.
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