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Complex partial seizure

Complex partial seizure
Classification & external resources
ICD-10 G40.2
ICD-9 345.4
MedlinePlus 000699
eMedicine neuro/74 
MeSH D017029

A complex partial seizure is an epileptic attack that involves a greater degree of impairment or alteration of consciousness/awareness and memory than a simple partial seizure.



Complex partial seizures are often precipitated by an aura, which is itself a simple partial seizure. This may begin with a feeling of déjà vu or jamais vu. The person may then have feelings of fear, euphoria or depression, and possibly depersonalization. They may experience visual disturbances, such as tunnel vision or a change in the size of objects. Once consciousness is impaired, the person may display “automatisms” such as lip smacking, chewing, swallowing, and undressing oneself. There may also be loss of memory (amnesia) surrounding the seizure event. As the person may still be able to perform routine tasks such as walking or shopping, witnesses may not recognize anything is wrong.

Although the origins of complex partial seizure vary, they usually originate in the temporal lobes of the brain, particularly on the hippocampus. It is often caused by mesia lesions in the brain, which are essentially a ridge of scar-like tissue. Like more generalized epilepsy, complex partial seizures are caused by a misfiring of a synapse in the brain, which causes a “storm like” reaction with bursts of electricity that can result in changes in personality and physicality. Often, the abnormal activity spreads to the rest of the brain, causing a secondary generalized seizure.

A partial (focal) seizure may occur at any age, as a single episode or as a repeated, chronic seizure disorder (epilepsy). They are seen less frequently in children than in adults, but still account for about 45% of pediatric seizure disorders.[citation needed]

Creativity & Epilepsy

Complex partial seizures experienced in some people may be conducive to enhanced creativity.[1]

In 2002, researchers at the Guelhane Military Medical Academy in Turkey evaluated thirty men with epilepsy and thirty-six men without. The men were instructed to use fragmented parts of a drawing to create a picture of their own. Those with complex partial seizures scored higher than their counterparts.[2]

A 2004 study suggested that temporal lobe epilepsy was not associated with their measure of creativity.[3]

Complex partial seizures and religious hallucinations

There are several religious figures suspected of having complex partial seizures. Ezekiel could have suffered from complex seizures[1]. Though her supporters disagree, the founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ellen G. White's visions of God may have been caused by partial seizures. She had previously lost consciousness from a head injury [2]. Her brain injury was significant enough to prevent her return to school.

See also


  • Epilepsy Action - Link Between Complex Partial Epilepsy and Creativityvdxdgghhuugfyjjvxefg der579phfew2ry8
  1. ^ Natalie Angier: In the Temporal Lobes, Seizures and Creativity. New York Times, October 12, 1993.
  2. ^ E. Togrol, A. Togrol, S. Can: Creative thinking in epilepsy. Boğaziçi University, 2002.
  3. ^ Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and Creativity: A Model of Association
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Complex_partial_seizure". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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