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Epilepsy

Epilepsy: Glossary

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 12:51

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are definitions of medical terms related to epilepsy.

Absence seizure: A specific type of seizure in which a person does not lose consciousness but goes into an altered state for a very short period of time.

Computed tomography (CT) scan: A CAT scan, a view of a section of the body made by a machine that combines x-ray technology with computer technology.

Electroencephalograph (EEG): A machine for tracing and recording the electrical activity of the brain by means of electrodes attached to the scalp.

Epilepsy: A brain disorder in which the energy circuits in the brain misfire to cause a seizure.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI): A type of brain scan that can be used to monitor the brain's activity and to detect abnormalities in how it works.

Grand mal seizure: A specific type of seizure in which the person may lose consciousness, fall down, and experience jerking and twitching of the muscles. These seizures last for two to three minutes.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): More advanced than an x-ray, an MRI is an imaging machine that produces detailed computerized images of internal body organs and tissues.

Myoclonic seizure: A specific type of seizure in which the person may jerk and twitch but will not lose consciousness.

Narcolepsy: A condition that causes sudden uncontrollable desire to sleep and sometimes causes visual or auditory hallucinations at the onset of sleep.

Neurology: The study of the nervous system; medical practice focused on the study and treatment of disorders of the nerves, including the brain.

Neuron: A nerve cell.

Neurotransmitters: Chemicals in the brain that aid in transmitting signals and messages back and forth between neurons.

Partial seizure: The most common type of seizure. A person undergoing a partial seizure will not lose consciousness or have distorted muscle movements but will see, hear, or smell things that are not really there.

Petit mal seizure: Same as absence seizure.

Positron emission tomography: A type of brain scan that can be used to monitor the brain's activity and to detect abnormalities in how it works.

Seizure: A sudden attack.

Tonic-clonic seizure: A specific type of seizure in which the person may lose consciousness, fall down, and experience jerking and twitching of the muscles. These seizures last for two to three minutes.

Epilepsy