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Seizures: Introduction

by Carlo Raj, MD
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    00:01 Let’s talk about seizures.

    00:04 So what is a seizure? An abnormal hypersynchronous – Stop there for one second.

    00:11 Hypersynchronous? So the pathology here is hypersynchronous.

    00:19 What does that mean? It means that actually, on an EEG, an electroencephalogram, normally, our rhythm, right, should be asynchronous.

    00:31 Asynchronous.

    00:33 So therefore, any period of time that you find on an EEG in which it is synchronous or uniform, it is the pathology.

    00:42 That’s the seizure.

    00:43 Fascinating! Our brain is supposed to be chaotic normally.

    00:48 An EEG is then going to obviously give you that type of measurement, right? But if it’s hypersynchronous, this is not good.

    00:58 And so therefore, that’s what a seizure is.

    01:01 And what’s the difference between a seizure and epilepsy? We’ll get into that in a second.

    01:06 But right now, let’s talk about the definition.

    01:08 So once again, an abnormal hypersynchronous electrical discharge of neurons in the brain.

    01:16 It’s easy to read, but please understand the significance of it.

    01:22 So what’s an epilepsy? The tendency to experience recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

    01:27 The operative word, unprovoked seizures.

    01:31 Keep things simple.

    01:32 A seizure is a hypersynchronous type of electrical activity over a period of time, maybe minutes, whereas epilepsy would be unprovoked type of seizure by the definition.

    01:42 Once you get the definitions down, obviously, we’re going to get into further details.

    01:47 Let’s move.

    01:49 So what’s a generalized seizure? Generalized seizure, the entire brain is affected, okay? Entire brain, generalized.

    01:57 Versus focal, a seizure which affects the entire brain at once, and you can have primary generalization.

    02:06 You can have secondary but at this point, current day practice, we don’t really talk about this so much, huh? But our focus will be on primary generalization with secondary.

    02:16 But what we’ll do is, we’ll get into focal, meaning to say, you have focal portions of the brain, most commonly, the medial temporal lobe.

    02:26 Then at some point, a focal then can go on to secondary generalization.

    02:34 Partial.

    02:36 Now, partial is the focal, which means what? Only parts of the brain area are affected.

    02:41 A seizure which originates in one area of the brain.

    02:45 Are you seeing the difference? Generalized, entire brain.

    02:49 Partial, a.k.a. focal.

    02:52 Current day practice, that’s what you call focal.

    02:57 It can secondarily generalize.

    03:00 Allow the definition and allow the words to speak to you.

    03:03 At some point, sure, a focal could then go into generalized.

    03:07 We call that secondarily generalized.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Seizures: Introduction by Carlo Raj, MD is from the course Seizures.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Epilepsy
    2. Focal seizures
    3. Primary generalized seizures
    4. Secondary generalized seizures
    5. Partial seizures
    1. A focal seizure when it becomes generalized it is known as a secondary generalized seizure.
    2. Seizures are due to the asynchronous activity in the brain.
    3. Epilepsy is defined as recurrent provoked seizures.
    4. Seizures are always generalized.
    5. Focal and partial seizures are not related to each other.

    Author of lecture Seizures: Introduction

     Carlo Raj, MD

    Carlo Raj, MD


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