Your symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) will vary based on what part of the brain is involved. Many people — but not everyone — have an aura, best described as an “unusual sensation,” before a TLE seizure. An aura only lasts a few seconds to two minutes and the person remains awake and aware.

What are epilepsy auras?

Describing an aura as simply an unusual sensation may not make much sense to someone who hasn’t had one. However, it’s likely that you’ll understand you’re having an aura, even if you can’t exactly explain it to others.

Some people have given a more exact description of their own aura, saying it involves having one or more of the following:

  • A sense of déjà vu or the feeling that you’ve lost time
  • Sudden onset of fear, panic, anxiety, anger, sadness, joy or other intense emotion
  • A pit in your stomach
  • An altered sense of sight, smell, taste, touch or hearing

Sometimes, TLE seizures can progress to a different type of seizure that causes some loss of awareness. You may stare into space or have altered speech or behavior.

In rare cases, TLE can progress into the type of seizures people more often associate with epilepsy, when your muscles stiffen and your body shakes with uncontrolled movements or convulsions. This can happen when both sides of your brain become involved.

How is focal temporal epilepsy diagnosed?

At Ohio State’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, we’ll diagnose your TLE using the same kind of tests we use to identify other kinds of epilepsy.

After collecting your complete medical history and details about your seizures, we’ll use the latest technology to map your brain and its electrical signals.

You can learn more about the types of tests we might recommend and the unique benefits of Ohio State’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

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