Epilepsy: Exploring INFORMATION / KNOWLEDGE / EMPOWERMENT MODULE 1: Epilepsy 101 17 Absence seizure Causes a sudden, short period of “blanking out,” usually for 10 to 20 seconds. The person may just stare into space.1 Atonic seizure Causes a sudden loss of muscle tone, usually for less than 15 seconds. The person may drop things or fall. Atonic seizures are also called drop attacks or drop seizures.2 Clonic seizure Causes muscles to go back and forth between contracting and relaxing, usually for a few seconds to 1 minute. The person may make jerky movements with their arms or legs.3 Comorbid disorders Medical conditions that might accompany epilepsy. Some of these conditions affect your brain and are caused by seizures or related to your epilepsy. Other types of comorbid conditions are not related to seizures or your epilepsy.4 CT scan A CT scan uses radiation to see if there are changes in the brain, such as bleeding, that might be causing the seizures. CT scans are also called CAT scans. CT stands for computerized tomography.5 Diagnosis The identification of a medical condition, such as epilepsy, by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant.5 EEG test An EEG (electroencephalogram) records electrical activity in the brain. EEGs can help the doctor understand what’s happening in the brain.5 EEG, CT, MRI technologists The healthcare professionals who perform these tests.4 Epilepsy Epilepsy is a brain disorder that involves seizures.6 Epileptologist A neurologist who has extra training in epilepsy.4 Focal seizures Focal (partial) seizures start in a group of neurons in a specific part of the brain.4 Frontal lobe The part of your brain at the front of your head (above your eyes) that controls thinking, voluntary muscle movements, and some sensations.7–9 Generalized seizures Generalized seizures start in a network of neurons spread across the brain.4 MRI scan MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnetic fields to see if there are structural changes in the brain, such as tumors, that might be causing the seizures.5 Myoclonic seizure A seizure that causes brief, shock-like jerks that last 1 or 2 seconds. The person usually has muscle jerks on both sides of the body at the same time.10 Neurologist A doctor trained in brain disorders, including epilepsy.4 Healthcare Lingo