Frontal Lobe Epilepsy

Frontal lobe epilepsy, or FLE, is a neurological disorder that is characterized by brief, recurring seizures that arise in the frontal lobes of the brain, often while the patient is sleeping. It is the second most common type of epilepsy after temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), and is related to the temporal form by the fact that both forms are characterized by the occurrence of partial (focal) seizures. Partial seizures occurring in the frontal lobes can occur in one of two different forms: either simple partial seizures (that do not affect awareness or memory) or complex partial seizures (that affect awareness or memory either before, during or after a seizure). The symptoms and clinical manifestations of frontal lobe epilepsy can differ depending on which specific area of the frontal lobe is affected.

The onset of a seizure may be hard to detect since the frontal lobes contain and regulate many structures and functions about which relatively little is known. Due to the lack of knowledge surrounding the functions associated with the frontal lobes, seizures occurring in these regions of the brain may produce unusual symptoms which can often be misdiagnosed as a psychiatric disorder, non-epileptic seizure or a sleep disorder.

During the onset of a seizure, the patient may exhibit abnormal body posturing, sensorimotor tics, or other abnormalities in motor skills. In rare cases, uncontrollable laughing or crying may occur during a seizure. Afflicted persons may or may not be aware that they are behaving in an abnormal manner, depending on the patient and type of seizure. A brief period of confusion known as a postictal state may sometimes follow a seizure occurring in the frontal lobes. However, these postictal states are oftentimes undetectable and generally do not last as long as the periods of confusion following seizures that occur in the temporal lobes.

There are many different causes of frontal lobe epilepsy ranging from genetics to head trauma that result in lesions in the frontal lobes. Although frontal lobe epilepsy is often misdiagnosed, tests such as prolonged EEG monitoring and/or a MRI scan of the frontal lobes can be administered in order to reveal the presence of a tumor or vascular malformation. Unlike most epileptic EEGs, the abnormalities in FLE EEGs precede the physical onset of the seizure and aid in localization of the seizure's origin. Medications such as anti-epileptic drugs can typically control the onset of seizures, however, if medications are ineffective the patient may undergo surgery to have focal areas of the frontal lobe removed.

Read more about Frontal Lobe EpilepsyAnatomy of Frontal Lobe Cortex, Symptoms, Common Misdiagnoses, Causes, Frequency, Social Impacts and Quality of Life, Treatments, Importance of Neuroimaging, Resective Surgery Using Gamma-Knife Radiosurgery

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