Frontal lobe epilepsy

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Frontal lobe epilepsy is the second most common type of epilepsy, after temporal lobe epilepsy. It is similar to temporal lobe epilepsy because it is a type of focal seizure, which means that the seizure starts in a focal area of the brain, commonly referred to as the focus. Frontal lobe epilepsy refers to cases in which the focus is located in the frontal lobe. Because the frontal lobe contains and regulates many structures and functions about which relatively little is known, the onset of a seizure may be hard to detect. For example, a seizure may start in one part of the lobe, producing no detectable symptoms of seizure, and spread to other parts.

At the onset of the seizure, the patient may exhibit loss of muscle tone, sensorimotor tics, or other abnormalities in motor skills, followed by some alteration of consciousness. Laughing or, in rare cases, crying may occur during a seizure. Afflicted persons may or may not be aware that they are behaving in an abnormal manner (it depends on the patient and type of seizure). Typically seizures in this area have a brief period of confusion afterwards, called a postictal state. Compared to seizures that have a temporal lobe onset this postictal state is usually briefer and often undetectable. For this reason frontal lobe epilepsy can often be misdiagnosed as a psychiatric disorder or non-epileptic seizure because of the abnormal motor functions exhibited during the course of the seizure. It can often only be detected with prolonged EEG monitoring.

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