For some types of seizures, an aura happens before a seizure and may alert a person that a seizure may occur. Auras typically begin seconds before the seizure.
The symptoms that accompany an aura can vary depending on the type of seizure and the area of the brain affected. Some symptoms of aura include:
- Abnormal sensations
- Deja vu (familiar feelings) or jamais vu (unfamiliar feelings)
Distorted emotions, such as panic or fear
Perceived sounds, tastes, or smells (some people report smelling burning rubber, for example)
Physical sensations, like dizziness, headache, numbness, and lightheadedness
- Unusual feelings
At UChicago Medicine, we offer an advanced treatment designed to prevent seizures before they start and often before a patient feels the aura. The NeuroPace Responsive Neurostimulation System (RNS) is a tiny device that detects abnormal brain activity and responds in real time to deliver short bursts of electrical stimulation designed to reduce how often seizures happen.
Similarly, deep brain stimulation (DBS) prevents seizures to spread throughout the brain and stops them from becoming clinically relevant. Neuromodulation is just one of the several treatment options we provide, from the latest anti-epileptic drugs to Visualase MRI-guided laser thermal ablation.
Ictus is another word for the seizure itself — the part of the seizure that outsiders can witness. It can be convulsive, commonly called “grand mal,” or non-convulsive, such as staring and inability to respond normally.
The postictal stage occurs after the ictus or active stage of the seizure. During the postictal stage, the body begins to relax and aftereffects may set in. The type and length of aftereffects will vary from person to person and may include:
- Confusion and agitation
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Loss of consciousness or unresponsiveness
- Partial paralysis