Glossary

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Absence Seizure -  A generalised onset seizure predominantly seen in children – commonly mistaken for daydreaming and inattentiveness. Characterised by staring, loss of facial expression, unresponsiveness, suddenly stopping activity and sometimes eye blinking or upward eye movements – they start and end abruptly, and can last from 2-20 seconds. There is usually an immediate recovery of mental function and resumption of previous activity with no memory of the event.
absorbed -  To take something into the body, especially gradually, e.g. the drug is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream; the cream is absorbed through the skin.
abstain -  Refrain or withhold from doing or enjoying something
acronyms -  Technically, a word that is formed by combining some or all parts (usually the first letters) of some of the terms. For example As Soon As Possible = ASAP
Acupuncture -  Ancient Chinese medical treatment that involves inserting fine needles and stimulating specific regions of the body for therapeutic purposes.
Acute -  Having a short and relatively severe course of symptoms with a sudden onset.
Adversive Seizures -  Rotation of the eyes, head or body during a seizure.
Aetiology -  The cause of the disease or disorder. Also spelt etiology (US).
Afebrile -  The absence of fever, normal body temperature.
Agenesis -  The absence or failure of formation of an organ or body part.
Aggravate -  make worse or more serious.
Aicardi syndrome -  Is a rare genetic disorder characterised by partial or complete absence of the connection between the two hemispheres of the brain, the corpus callosum. Affects females and the onset is generally between ages 3-5 months with seizures called infantile spasms. Symptoms include seizures, profound learning disabilities and brain abnormalities such as smaller than average brain and cavities or gaps in the brain.
Alternative therapies -  Any treatment or preventative health measure other than conventional medicine.
Amnesia -  Loss of memory. Total or partial inability to recall past experiences.
Anticonvulsants -  See antiepileptic drugs (AED’s)
Antiepileptic drugs -  Medications used to manage epilepsy. Some of these medications are also used to treat neuropathic pain, bi-polar disorder and anxiety. Also called anticonvulsants, antiepileptic medication and AEDs.
Anxiety -  Excessive feelings of worry, uneasiness or apprehension about something with an unknown outcome.
Aphasia -  A total or partial loss of speech and language skills to express oneself or understand others. This can occur during or after seizures of dominant hemisphere (usually the left side of the brain).
Apnoea -  Interruption or absence of spontaneous breathing.
Aromatherapy -  Is the use of pure aromatic oils in the complementary management of disease or maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. It can be either diluted and massaged into the skin or heated in an oil burner. These oils are a mixture of plant chemicals, many which do have pharmacological effects.
Assessed -  When someone is examined to find out something about them, e.g. doctors check to determine any findings that can lead to a medical diagnosis.
Asymmetric -  not identical or the same on both sides.
Ataxia -  Poor coordination – an inability to coordinate muscle activity during voluntary movement. This can occur when some medication levels are too high.
Atonic -  without tone, limp
Atonic seizure -  Also known as drop attacks. An atonic seizure is a generalised seizure where body tone is suddenly lost and the person slumps to the floor or if sitting, it may result in a sudden head nod. They are difficult to control with medication, often occur in intellectually disabled people, and often result in head and facial injuries.
Attention -  Refers to a general state of arousal, selection, concentration, alertness and processing.
Atypical -  not typical or usual
Atypical Absence -  Similar to an absence seizure but it may last longer or have additional features such as repetitive movements, jerking or falling. The EEG changes are slightly different to absence seizures and a typical absences are often more difficult to control with medications.
Aura -  This the start of a seizure and is actually a focal aware seizure which involves no loss of awareness. They can occur in isolation and include feelings such as: strange smells, visual disturbances, numbness, tingling, blushing, nausea, different emotions or feelings of déjà vu.
Automatism -  Purposeless, often repetitive movements that accompany a focal seizure. These include lip smacking, chewing, picking at clothes, pill rolling, mumbling or wandering in a confused state.
Autopsy -  Examination to discover cause of death.
Awareness -  the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness
Axon -  Is a part of the neuron (nerve cell) that resembles a cable. Nerve impulses travel along the axon and its main function is part of the process of communication between neurons.