Absence seizures

Common Name(s)

Absence seizures, Petit mal seizures

Absence seizures, formerly known as petit mal seizures, are a type of generalized seizure. When these seizures occur a person will completely blank out and become unaware of what is going on around them. During a simple seizure an individual will stare blankly for about 10 seconds or less. A complex seizure can last up to twenty seconds and the person will make some kind of movement while staring into space. This condition is most common in children ages 4 to 14 and among girls. Some symptoms may include a sudden stop in motion without falling, a sudden stop in speech, lip smacking, chewing motions, eyelid fluttering, and small movements of both hands. After an absence seizure a person will have no memory of it and will continue with his/her activity. Since this seizure occurs so quickly, it may be difficult to notice. Absence seizures may occur infrequently or more than 100 times per day.

Children who experienced seizures brought on by a fever (febrile seizures) or who have close relatives who have had absence seizures are at an increased risk. Absence seizures rarely develop in infants and only occasionally in teens and adults. Children with absence seizures sometimes also experience tonic-clonic seizures.

The cause for absence seizures is unknown. Genetic factors are believed to be involved. Seizures are a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. In an absence seizure the electrical signals in the brain repeat themselves in a 3 second pattern. Rapid breathing (hyperventilation) may trigger an absence seizure. Doctors diagnose this by running a test called electroencephalogram (EEG). This test checks the brain for unusual electrical activity. The most common form of treatment is medication. Children often outgrow this condition, but some many develop other seizure types. Talk with your doctor to decide what treatment option is best. Support groups are also good resources of support and information.

Source: Advocacy organizations associated with the condition.

 

Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Absence seizures" for support, advocacy or research.

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Epilepsy Foundation - Home Office

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to stop seizures and SUDEP, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies.

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015

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General Support Organizations

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Absence seizures" for support, advocacy or research.

Logo
Epilepsy Foundation - Home Office

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to stop seizures and SUDEP, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies.

http://www.epilepsy.com

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Absence seizures" returned 69 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Impaired consciousness in patients with absence seizures investigated by functional MRI, EEG, and behavioural measures: a cross-sectional study.
 

Author(s): Jennifer N Guo, Robert Kim, Yu Chen, Michiro Negishi, Stephen Jhun, Sarah Weiss, Jun Hwan Ryu, Xiaoxiao Bai, Wendy Xiao, Erin Feeney, Jorge Rodriguez-Fernandez, Hetal Mistry, Vincenzo Crunelli, Michael J Crowley, Linda C Mayes, R Todd Constable, Hal Blumenfeld

Journal: Lancet Neurol. 2016 Dec;15(13):1336-1345.

 

The neural underpinnings of impaired consciousness and of the variable severity of behavioural deficits from one absence seizure to the next are not well understood. We aimed to measure functional MRI (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) changes in absence seizures with impaired ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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The Role of Striatal Feedforward Inhibition in the Maintenance of Absence Seizures.
 

Author(s): Takafumi Arakaki, Séverine Mahon, Stéphane Charpier, Arthur Leblois, David Hansel

Journal: J. Neurosci.. 2016 Sep;36(37):9618-32.

 

Absence seizures are characterized by brief interruptions of conscious experience accompanied by oscillations of activity synchronized across many brain areas. Although the dynamics of the thalamocortical circuits are traditionally thought to underlie absence seizures, converging ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Sultiame revisited: treatment of refractory absence seizures.
 

Author(s): Kathleen M Gorman, Amre Shahwan

Journal: Epileptic Disord. 2016 Sep;18(3):329-33.

 

Sultiame is recommended for the treatment of benign epilepsy of childhood with centrotemporal spikes, electrical status epilepticus during slow-wave sleep, as well as other genetic (idiopathic) focal epilepsies. Sultiame is not traditionally considered a treatment choice for idiopathic ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Absence seizures" returned 11 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

A critical evaluation of the gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) model of absence seizures.
 

Author(s): Marcello Venzi, Giuseppe Di Giovanni, Vincenzo Crunelli

Journal: CNS Neurosci Ther. 2015 Feb;21(2):123-40.

 

Typical absence seizures (ASs) are nonconvulsive epileptic events which are commonly observed in pediatric and juvenile epilepsies and may be present in adults suffering from other idiopathic generalized epilepsies. Our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of ASs has ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Absence seizures in children.
 

Author(s): Ewa Posner

Journal:

 

About 10% of seizures in children with epilepsy are typical absence seizures. Absence seizures have a significant impact on quality of life.

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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A brief history on the oscillating roles of thalamus and cortex in absence seizures.
 

Author(s): Massimo Avoli

Journal: Epilepsia. 2012 May;53(5):779-89.

 

This review summarizes the findings obtained over the past 70 years on the fundamental mechanisms underlying generalized spike-wave (SW) discharges associated with absence seizures. Thalamus and cerebral cortex are the brain areas that have attracted most of the attention from both ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

Cannabidiol Oral Solution in Pediatric Participants With Treatment-Resistant Childhood Absence Seizures
 

Status: Not yet recruiting

Condition Summary: Childhood Absence Epilepsy

 

Last Updated: 7 Dec 2017

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