Written exam questions: epilepsy
- By: Elliott Smock
Do you want more practice in answering written exam questions? Elliott Smock kicks off a new series, explaining the theoretical background to commonly encountered multiple choice questions.
This week its epilepsy
Epilepsy is a sudden uncontrolled transient change in the electrical activity of the brain, which may lead to a seizure. A fit or seizure may manifest as a series of convulsions, as a loss of consciousness, or both. The causes of epilepsy are not entirely clear, but it seems that instability of ion channels or damage to groups of neurons in the brain are responsible. Fits may last up to three minutes but are usually of briefer duration.
The modern classification of epilepsy fits into two broad categories.
A generalised seizure spreads throughout the brain and is not confined to any single location. It involves the entire body, causing tonic-clonic jerks (tonic=sustained contraction, clonic=repeating) and often includes