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What is Temporal Lobe Epilepsy?

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An estimated two million people in the United States have epilepsy, a neurological condition in which the patient has recurrent seizures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seizures occur when electrical activity in the brain becomes disturbed, causing changes in behavior.

Patients with epilepsy have permanent changes to the tissue in the brain that results in the abnormal electrical activity. Seizures can occur on one side of the brain, called a focal seizure, or affect the whole brain, called a generalized seizure.

If a patient with epilepsy has seizures in the temporal lobe of the brain, it is considered temporal lobe epilepsy. Two types of temporal lobe epilepsy exist: mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, abbreviated as MTLE, and lateral temporal lobe epilepsy, abbreviated as LTLE.

A patient who has MTLE has seizures in the hippocampus (a structure of the brain involved in converting short-term memories into long-term memories) and the amygdala (a structure of the brain involved with emotions). A patient who has LTLE has seizures in the neocortex, which is the outer layer of the temporal lobe.

Macalester College noted that LTLE is less common than MTLE. Some patients may develop temporal lobe epilepsy after sustaining a head injury or after a brain infection.

Epilepsy.com stated that the most common type of seizure found in temporal lobe epilepsy is complex partial seizures, followed by simple partial seizures, though about 60 percent of patients have grand mal seizures, a type of generalized seizure. Patients with temporal lobe epilepsy may have memory problems, visual hallucinations, emotional changes and aggression.

Macalester College noted that 80 percent of patients experience auras before the onset of the seizure.

Medication and surgery are possible treatment options for temporal lobe epilepsy. Examples of medication include topiramate, gabapentin and lamotrigine.

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EmpowHER Guest

This is a good explainer, but author and editor should note that "grand mal" is no longer a clinically used term. The accurate term is now tonic-clonic.

September 16, 2011 - 6:21am
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