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What are the symptoms of partial (focal onset) seizures? Types, causes, and treatment

A partial seizure is a surge of electrical activity in just one area of the brain. These seizures are also known as focal onset seizures. A focal seizure can happen for a number of different reasons, so determining the underlying cause is the key to proper treatment.   People who suffer from partial seizures or focal onset seizures experience a lot of physical symptoms, including muscle contractions, visual disturbances, and even blackouts. All of this can be rather frightening.

Genes May Play Greater Role in Focal Epilepsy than Previously Thought

Although focal epilepsies generally have not been considered to be genetic disorders, an international team led by researchers from the University of South Australia in Adelaide has uncovered evidence that a genetic component indeed exists. After identifying an association between DEPDC5gene mutations and familial focal epilepsy,1 the researchers turned their sights to the DEPDC5’sGATOR1 protein complex partners, a master regulator of cell growth and metabolism and the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulators NPRL2 and NPRL3, and found associations between mutations in them and focal epilepsy.2

Focal symptoms may be prognostic in generalised epilepsies

By Eleanor McDermid, Senior medwireNews Reporter Symptoms consistent with focal seizures are often reported by patients who have idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGE) and are associated with a short duration of freedom from seizures, say researchers. This strong association remained significant after accounting for a number of confounders, including age at onset, duration of epilepsy and the presence of generalized tonic–clonic seizures. The 95% confidence interval did cross zero after adjustment for some confounders, such as the number of antiepileptic drugs used, but the team attributes this to the relatively small sample size, and stresses the clinical relevance of the association. “Overall, our study raises the possibility that the presence of [focal seizure symptoms] may be an impor...

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