Epilepsy: a group of disorders marked by problems in the normal functioning of the brain. These problems can produce "seizures," unusual body movements, a loss of “consciousness” or changes in consciousness, as well as mental problems or problems with the senses. (NCIt)

Any disruption of the electrical processes in the brain may cause abnormal functioning. Neurons in the cerebral hemispheres misfire and create abnormal electrical activity like an electrical brainstorm. The seizure prevents the brain from interpreting and processing incoming sensory signals and from controlling muscles. (Chudler 65) The treatment for epilepsy is an 'anticonvulsant' drug. These presumably inhibit the discharge of abnormal neurons by stabilizing the "neuronal membrane," especially in "inhibitory neurons." If medication fails, surgery can be performed to remove the focus of abnormal functioning. (Kolb, 589)


Aura: a ‘premonitory sensation experienced before an attack of epilepsy or “migraine.” (Oxford) A subjective sensation (as of voices or colored lights or crawling and numbness) experienced before an attack of some nervous disorders. (GHR)

Focal Epilepsy: a disorder that produces seizures in limited regions of the cortex. Wilder Penfield developed a surgery technique, still used today, to remove epileptic tissue while avoiding or minimizing damage to areas involved in the patient’s mental processes. (Kandel, 125) A seizure that originates in a localized part of the cerebral cortex, that involves “motor,”  “sensory,” “autonomic,” or psychic symptoms (as twitching of muscles, localized numbness, or auras), and that may or may not progress to a generalized seizure. (GHR) Also referred to as ‘focal seizure.’

Idiopathic Epilepsy: epilepsy that is not associated with structural damage to the brain. (OxfordMed) Recurrent conditions characterized by epileptic seizures which arise diffusely and simultaneously from both hemispheres of the brain. (MeSH)

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy: seizures confined mainly to the “temporal lobes” and sometimes the “anterior cingulate.” May produce a heighten sense of self and has been linked to religious or spiritual experiences. Person may undergo striking "personality" changes and/or become obsessed with abstract thoughts. One explanation is that repeated seizures may strengthen the connections between two areas of the brain: the temporal lobe and the “amygdala.” Interestingly, people with TLE tend to be humorless, a characteristic also seen in seizure-free religious people. (RamachandranTTb, 305) Commonly caused by damage to the "cortex" of the temporal lobe or the adjacent "parietal lobe." (OxfordMed) Disturbances in consciousness, "emotions," and "behavior" without loss of consciousness. (Ramachandran, 303-304) Also referred to as 'psychomotor epilepsy.'