These seizures begin in the temporal lobes of the brain. They can trigger a variety of symptoms such as odd feelings, fear and unresponsiveness.
Temporal lobe seizures begin in the temporal lobes of the brain. These areas process emotions and are important for short-term memory. Symptoms of a temporal lobe seizure may be related to these functions. Some people have odd feelings during the seizure, such as joy, deja vu or fear.
Temporal lobe seizures are sometimes called focal seizures with impaired awareness. Some people remain aware of what's happening during the seizure. But if the seizure is more intense, the person might look awake but won't respond to what's around them. The person's lips and hands may make motions over and over.
The cause of temporal lobe seizures is often not known. But it may stem from a scar in the temporal lobe. Temporal lobe seizures are treated with medicine. For some people who don't respond to medicine, surgery may be an option.
An unusual sensation known as an aura may happen before a temporal lobe seizure. An aura acts as a warning. Not everyone who has temporal lobe seizures has auras. And not everyone who has auras remembers them.
The aura is the first part of a focal seizure before a loss of consciousness. Examples of auras include:
Sometimes temporal lobe seizures impair your ability to respond to others. This type of temporal lobe seizure usually lasts 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Symptoms of a temporal lobe seizure include:
After a temporal lobe seizure, you may have:
In extreme cases, what starts as a temporal lobe seizure evolves into a generalized tonic-clonic seizure. This type of seizure causes shaking, known as convulsions, and loss of consciousness. It also is called a grand mal seizure.
Call 911 or your local emergency number if any of the following occurs:
If you experience a seizure for the first time, see a health care provider.
Seek medical advice if:
Often, the cause of temporal lobe seizures is not known. But they can be a result of a number of factors, including:
During waking and sleeping, your brain cells produce varying electrical activity. If there's a burst of electrical activity in many brain cells, a seizure may occur.
If this happens in just one area of the brain, the result is a focal seizure. A temporal lobe seizure is a focal seizure that originates in one of the temporal lobes.
Each side of your brain contains four lobes. The frontal lobe is important for cognitive functions and control of voluntary movement or activity. The parietal lobe processes information about temperature, taste, touch and movement, while the occipital lobe is primarily responsible for vision. The temporal lobe processes memories, integrating them with sensations of taste, sound, sight and touch.
Over time, repeated temporal lobe seizures can cause the part of the brain that's responsible for learning and memory to shrink. This area of the brain is called the hippocampus. The loss of brain cells in the hippocampus may cause memory problems.
After a seizure, your health care provider typically reviews your symptoms and medical history. Your provider may order several tests to determine the cause of your seizure. This helps evaluate how likely it is that you'll have another seizure.
Tests may include:
An EEG records the electrical activity of your brain via electrodes affixed to your scalp. EEG results show changes in brain activity that may be useful in diagnosing brain conditions, especially epilepsy and other seizure disorders.
Not everyone who has one seizure has another one. A seizure can be an isolated incident. Your health care provider may decide not to start treatment until you've had more than one.
The optimal goal in seizure treatment is to find the best possible therapy to stop seizures with the fewest side effects.
Many medicines are available to treat temporal lobe seizures. However, many people don't achieve seizure control with medicines alone. Side effects also are common. They can include fatigue, weight gain and dizziness.
Discuss possible side effects with your health care provider when considering treatment options. Also ask what effect your seizure medicines may have on other medicines you take. Some anti-seizure medicines can make oral contraceptives less effective, for example.
When anti-seizure medicines aren't effective, other treatments may be an option:
Surgery. The goal of surgery is to stop seizures from happening. This is often done through a traditional surgery, where surgeons operate to remove the area of the brain where seizures begin. In certain people, surgeons may be able to use MRI-guided laser therapy as a less invasive way to destroy the area of damaged tissue that causes seizures.
Surgery works best for people who have seizures that always originate in the same place in their brains. Surgery generally isn't an option if your seizures come from more than one area of the brain. Surgery also may not be an option if the focus of your seizure can't be identified. This also may be true if your seizures come from a part of the brain that performs vital functions.
Women who've had previous seizures typically are able to have healthy pregnancies. But it's important to know that certain medicines can lead to birth defects.
In particular, valproic acid has been associated with cognitive deficits and neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Valproic acid is one possible medicine for generalized seizures. The American Academy of Neurology recommends that women don't use valproic acid during pregnancy because of risks to the baby.
Discuss these risks with your health care provider. In addition to the risk of birth defects, pregnancy can alter medicine levels. If you've had seizures, it's important to talk to a health care provider about your medicines before you become pregnant.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to change the dose of seizure medicine you take before or during pregnancy. Medicines also may be switched during pregnancy.
It also is important to know that some anti-seizure medicines can alter the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, which are forms of birth control. And some oral contraceptives can speed up the absorption of seizure medicines. Check with your health care provider to evaluate whether your medicine interacts with your oral contraceptive. Ask if other forms of contraception need to be considered.
In vagus nerve stimulation, an implanted pulse generator and lead wire stimulate the vagus nerve, which leads to stabilization of electrical activity in the brain.
Here are some steps you can take to help with seizure control:
Seizures don't usually result in serious injury. But injury is possible if you have recurrent seizures. These steps can help you avoid injury during a seizure:
It's helpful to know what to do if you witness someone having a seizure. If you're at risk of having seizures in the future, pass this information along to family, friends and co-workers.
To help someone during a seizure:
Even after they're under control, seizures can affect your life. Temporal lobe seizures may present even more of a coping challenge. This is because people may not recognize some of its symptoms as a seizure. Children may get teased or be embarrassed by their condition. And living with the constant threat of another seizure may frustrate children and adults.
Your family can provide much-needed support. Tell them what you know about your seizure disorder. Let them know they can ask you questions, and be open to conversations about their worries. Help them understand your condition by sharing any educational materials or other resources that your health care provider has given you.
Meet with your supervisor and talk about your seizure disorder and how it affects you. Discuss what you need from your supervisor or co-workers if a seizure happens while at work. Consider talking with your co-workers about seizure disorders. You can widen your support system and bring about acceptance and understanding.
Remember, you don't have to go it alone. Reach out to family and friends. Ask your health care provider about local support groups or join an online support community. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Having a strong support system is important to living with any medical condition.
In some cases, seizures need immediate medical attention, and there's not always time to prepare for an appointment.
In other cases, your first appointment to evaluate a seizure may be with your primary care provider. Or you may be referred to a specialist, such as a doctor trained in brain and nervous system conditions, known as a neurologist. You also might be referred to a neurologist trained in epilepsy, known as an epileptologist.
To prepare for your appointment, consider what you can do to get ready and understand what to expect from your health care provider.
For seizures, some basic questions to ask your health care provider include:
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your health care provider, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
Your health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions: