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Epileptic Disorders - Editor's Choice

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January 2016

Epileptic auras: phenomenology and neurophysiology

Epileptic Disord, Vol. 17, No. 4, December 2015, p; 349-362

Epileptic Disorders September 2015

This Seminar in Epileptology manuscript by Ghazala Perven and Norman So, also accompanied by a series of educational slides, discusses the phenomenology, neurophysiology, and localization of epileptic auras with particular emphasis on how auras can manifest as part of an epileptic network.

Epileptic auras, as the first clinical symptom of a seizure, may lead us to infer the site of seizure onset. At the same time, auras can also be a result of activation or alteration in an epileptic network. They can be highly specific or ill-defined in symptomatology.

Relative incidence of auras in focal epilepsies is discussed. The authors summarize in a didactic way all major publications on auras from the temporal lobe, the insula, the frontal lobe and the posterior cortex.

Auras occur as a result of limited seizure activation, allowing access of the neural signal to the conscious brain. An understanding of epileptic auras offers a window into understanding fundamental brain functions, and helps the clinician at the bedside to make appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic choices.


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