Frontal lobe seizures

Frontal lobe seizures are seizures that originate in the front of the brain. Epilepsy symptoms can vary depending on what part of the brain is involved. Frontal lobe seizures may produce unusual symptoms that can appear to be related to a psychiatric problem or a sleep disorder.

Frontal lobe seizures often occur during sleep and may feature bicycle pedaling motions and pelvic thrusting. Some people scream profanities or laugh during frontal lobe seizures.

In many cases of frontal lobe seizures, brain wave tests (electroencephalograms) may not show the changes characteristic of epileptic seizures that originate elsewhere in the brain. Medications usually can control frontal lobe seizures, but surgery is an option if anti-epileptic drugs aren't effective.

Symptoms Causes Complications

Frontal lobe seizures usually last less than 30 seconds and often occur during sleep. Signs and symptoms of frontal lobe seizures may include:

  • Head and eye movement to one side
  • Complete or partial unresponsiveness or difficulty speaking
  • Explosive screams, including profanities, or laughter
  • Abnormal body posturing, such as one arm extending while the other flexes, as if the person is posing like a fencer
  • Repetitive movements, such as rocking, bicycle pedaling or pelvic thrusting

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you're having signs or symptoms of a seizure. Call 911 or call for emergency medical help if you observe someone having a seizure that lasts more than five minutes.

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