Frontal Lobe Seizures

1 What are Frontal Lobe Seizures?

Frontal lobe seizures are seizures that originate from the front of the brain. A seizure is a neurological disorder in which there is a brief episode of signs or symptoms due to abnormal excessive neuronal activity.

Frontal lobe seizure is the second most common seizure after temporal lobe seizures and often runs in families with most cases having an unknown cause. These recurring seizures are brief and often arise when the patient is sleeping.

The symptoms vary depending on the area affected. These can include uncontrolled movements, laughter or crying.

An EEG and MRI scan can be used to diagnose these seizures. Several medications can be used to treat frontal lobe seizures although surgery is applied when drug therapy fails.

2 Symptoms

The signs and symptoms may include:

  • Inability to make conscious decisions,
  • mood swings,
  • disturbances in thought,
  • head and eye movements to one side,
  • difficulty speaking,
  • explosive screams and laughter,
  • abnormal body postures,
  • repetitive movements.

Frontal lobe seizures usually occur during sleep and last less than a minute.

3 Causes

Frontal lobe seizures can be caused by certain abnormalities such as tremors, stroke, traumatic injuries to the head and certain infections.

Noctural frontal lobe epilepsy is hereditary. It is caused by an autosomal dominant gene and can affect the children of people who have it.

Other possible causes include abnormal brain tissue or congenital abnormalities and abnormal blood vessels. However, in most cases it has an unknown cause.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of frontal lobe seizures can be challenging since it has symptoms that are similar to certain disorders like psychiatric problems and sleep disorders.

The most frequently used tests are: Brain scans (usually MRI)-this helps in locating the primary focus (source) of the seizure. This test uses radio waves and powerful magnetic fields to visualize the soft tissues of the brain.

Another method used to diagnose frontal lobe seizures is Electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG is used to monitor the electrical activity of the brain. Increased electrical activity in the brain is associated with seizures. The type of seizure can also be diagnosed with the use of an EEG.

5 Treatment

Treatment of frontal lobe seizures can range from medication to a number of surgical procedures. Although several anti-seizure drugs are available, they are not all effective.

Surgery is usually the method of treatment when anti-seizure drugs fail to control seizures. Surgery requires finding the exact location of the seizure.

Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) can be used as it provides an accurate image of the affected are. After the point has been identified, it can either be removed or isolate that section of the brain. A newer type of implanted device ,responsive neurostimulator (RNS), stops seizures from occurring. Another treatment used is vagus nerve stimulation.

A newer type of implanted device ,responsive neurostimulator (RNS), stops seizures from occurring. Another treatment used is vagus nerve stimulation.

6 Prevention

In order to prevent or improve frontal lobe seizuresĀ it is necessary to avoid triggers like:

  • excessive alcohol intake,
  • certain medications,
  • sometimes lack of sleep,
  • severe stress,
  • bright light.

7 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with frontal lobe seizures.

The prognosis for people living with frontal lobe seizures varies depending on the cause of the seizures. For example, an individual with scar tissue caused by infection will need lifelong treatment while if the cause is genetic, the seizure may eventually stop.

Living with this condition can be very frustrating since they can be accompanied by loud vocalizations or sexual movements. Supportive family members and joining support groups can be very helpful as they help the affected person to have a positive outlook.

8 Risks and Complications

The following complications are associated with frontal lobe seizures:

  • Status epilepticus-this is a condition in which the duration of the seizure is prolonged with the seizure lasting more than 5 minutes. It should be treated as soon as possible since it is a medical emergency.
  • Injury can also occur due to uncontrolled movements during the seizure. Other brain functions like memory, speak and motor skills can happen as a result of a seizure. Sudden unexpected death has been shown to occur more in people who have seizures.
  • Sudden unexpected death has been shown to occur more in people who have seizures.
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