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Seizure Overview

February 25, 2020

What Is It?

A seizure is a sudden change in the brain's normal electrical activity. During a seizure, brain cells "fire" uncontrollably at up to four times their normal rate, temporarily affecting the way a person behaves, moves, thinks or feels.

There are two major types of seizures:

  • Primary generalized seizures – The seizure affects the entire cerebral cortex, the outer portion of the brain that contains the majority of brain cells. In this type of seizure, the abnormal firing of brain cells occurs on both sides of the brain at about the same time.
  • Partial (focal) seizure – The abnormal firing of brain cells begins in one region of the brain and remains in that one region.

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Many conditions can affect the brain and trigger a seizure, including:

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