Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Absence Seizure

  • Kenneth R. PerrineEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56782-2_1038-2



An absence (usually pronounced with a French accent as “ab-SAWNS”) seizure is a type of generalized seizure caused by a large burst of electrical discharges that begins in broad, bilaterally distributed networks simultaneously as opposed to a complex partial seizure (focal seizure with altered awareness/responsiveness).1During an absence seizure, the patient will lose interaction with the environment, stare blankly (“zone out”), and perhaps blink the eyes (eyelid myoclonia) or have sudden jerks (myoclonic absence). There is no true loss of consciousness or motor functions. The seizure is typically short in duration (only several seconds), and patients often resume their ongoing activity without realizing even that they had a seizure (but will be amnestic for anything occurring during the episode). There are no postictal problems after the end of the seizure. Although no first aid is required, the patient should be protected...


Seizure Type Epileptiform Activity Focal Seizure Absence Seizure Complex Partial Seizure 
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References and Readings

  1. Berg, A. T., Berkovic, S. F., Brodie, M. J., Buchhalter, J., Cross, J. H., van Emde, B. W., Engel, J., French, J., Glauser, T. A., Mathern, G. W., Moshe, S. L., Nordli, D., Plouin, P., & Scheffer, I. E. (2010). Revised terminology and concepts for organization of seizures and epilepsies: Report of the ILAE Commission on Classification and Terminology, 2005–2009. Epilepsia, 51(4), 676–685.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurological SurgeryWeill Cornell MedicineNew YorkUSA