Epilepsia partialis continua
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Epilepsia partialis continua is a rare type of brain disorder in which a person will experience recurrent motor epileptic seizures that are focal (hands and face), and recur every few seconds or minutes for extended periods (days or years). During these seizures, there is repetitive focal myoclonus or Jacksonian march. After a seizure has subsided, Todd's phenomenon may be observed, which includes transient unilateral weakness.
There are numerous causes for these kind of seizures and the differ depending somewhat on the age at which the seizures begin. Epilepsy itself often occurs at the extremes of life- in the very young age or in the very old age, but can develop at anytime throughout one's life. Epilepsy really begins at conception or the completion of one's genome, because from then on all the things that affect the brain may have the potential to cause seizure to begin.
Although these seizures are usually due to large, acute brain lesions resulting from strokes in adults and focal cortical inflammatory processes in children (Rasmussen's encephalitis), possibly caused by chronic viral infections or autoimmune processes. They are very therapy-resistant, and the primary therapeutic goal is to stop secondary generalization. There are also many other reasons why these seizures occur. For example: They could be due to genetics, infections, problems with brain development, or commonly the cause is unknown.
As you know your genetic background determines your height, eye color, and potential to develop certain disease like diabetes, but it also determines all the chemicals and structure that make up the brain therefore playing a role in epilepsia partialis continua. The chemicals and structures that make up the brain are similar in different people, but they vary in certain enzymes and receptors. These variations are not usually enough to cause a problem, but occasionally it does. For example: if a person has a mutation in a gene that creates the sodium channel (a part of the neuron required for firing) it makes it easier for neuronal firing to get out of control.
An infection of the brain (encephalitis) can also be a contributing factor. Although this sort of infection is uncommon it can be due to a virus, bacteria, or (very rarely) fungus. If a seizure happens during the infection itself, the person most likely don't have Epilepsy , but has "symtomatic seizures" or seizures occurring because of a known injury to the brain. Once the infection is stopped the seizures will stop. Another more common infection is "meningitis" or an infection of the coverings of the brain. Since this infection doest not directly involve the brain it shouldn't be looked at like a cause of epilepsy, but it is proven that it can cause epilepsy, which would give rise to a chance of developing epilepsy partialis continua. These infections are most likely to result in epilepsy when it occurs at an early age.
Problems with brain development can also be a factor. The brain undergoes a complicated process during development where neurons are born and must travel to the surface of the brain. Here they wind up carefully placed in six distinct layers of the cerebral cortex. Throughout the brain the placement of these neurons are normally quite precise. If this system doesn't work exactly right, neurons can develop out-side the areas they belong. If this happens then the firing or cicuitry of the brain is not right, and an abnormal, epileptic circuit can result.
22:00, 6 November 2006 (UTC)