The first step is to separate seizures by how they begin in the brain. The type of seizure onset is important because it affects choice of seizure medication, possibilities for epilepsy surgery, outlook, and possible causes.
Focal seizures: Previously called partial seizures, these start in an area or network of cells on one side of the brain.
Generalized seizures: Previously called primary generalized, these engage or involve networks on both sides of the brain at the onset.
Unknown onset: If the onset of a seizure is not known, the seizure falls into the unknown onset category. Later on, the seizure type can be changed if the beginning of a person’s seizures becomes clear.
Focal to bilateral seizure: A seizure that starts in one side or part of the brain and spreads to both sides has been called a secondary generalized seizures. Now the term generalized refers only to the start of a seizure. The new term for secondary generalized seizure would be a focal to bilateral seizure.
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