Diagnosing and classifying seizures recently became easier—and more precise. The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), the world’s main scientific body devoted to the study of epilepsy, revised its terminology in order to recognize that some seizure types can have different onsets; allow classification when the onset is not observed; include some missing seizure types; and adopt more transparent names.
The seizures are still divided into three groups, explains Robert Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the ILAE Seizure Subtype Classification Task Force: focal onset, which start in one hemisphere of the brain; generalized onset, which start in both hemispheres, causing loss of awareness or movements on both sides of the body; and unknown onset. See the chart at right for some highlights.
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Originally printed in EpilepsyAdvocate, Spring 2018