During a partial seizure the disturbance in brain activity begins in or involves a distinct area of the brain. The nature of these seizures is usually determined by the function of the part of the brain that is involved. Partial seizures are sometimes known as “focal”.

There are basically three types of partial seizures –

  • Simple Partial Seizures;
  • Complex Partial Seizures; and
  • Secondarily Generalized Seizures

In simple partial seizures, consciousness is not impaired and the seizure is confirmed to either rhythmical twitching of one limb, or part of a limb, or to unusual tastes or sensations such as pins and needles in a distinct part of the body. Simple partial seizures sometimes develop into other sorts of seizures and they are often referred to as a “warning” or “aura”.

Complex partial seizures differ from partial seizures in that consciousness is affected. The seizures may then be characterized by a change in awareness as well as “semi-purposive” movements such as fiddling with clothes or nearby objects, wandering about and general confusion. Complex partial seizures usually involve the temporal lobes of the brain, however they can also affect the frontal and parietal lobes.

In some people either of these seizures may spread to involve the whole of the brain and if this happens it is called a secondarily generalized seizure.

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