The Human Brain and Seizures
The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. It is made up almost entirely of nerve cells.
At any given moment there are millions of electrical impulses running through the brain. The brain is constantly receiving and responding to hundreds of messages from the environment and the internal organs of our body.
A seizure is a disruption in the normal pattern of these electrical impulses in the brain, caused by the brain cells firing simultaneously at a much faster rate.
Depending on where a seizure starts and spreads in the brain, they can result in changes in:
- Awareness or consciousness,
- or Movement
Some seizures are severe and recognised as a seizure, whilst others are subtle and may not be noticed by most people.
Regions of the brain
All areas of the nervous system connect with the brain stem. It regulates heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, digestion, sweating, level of alertness and ability to sleep. It also contains reflex centres that control swallowing, coughing, sneezing and vomiting.
The largest structure of the brain is the cerebrum and contains lobes including frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes. It is the centre of intellect, memory, language and consciousness, receiving and interpreting sensory information and controlling movement.
Basic functions of the lobes
Concentration, memory, decision making, judgement, emotional response, impulse control, language, voluntary movement, how we know what we are doing within our environment (consciousness).
Touch, temperature and pain perception (sensation), awareness of body and where it is in space.
Hearing ability, memory, interpreting language, some visual perceptions, behaviour.
When a seizure occurs, the part of the body affected can sometimes be traced back to a specific area within the brain where excess electrical activity is taking place. A seizure may alter behaviour, consciousness, movement, perception and/or sensation.