Talk:Tonic–clonic seizure

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Origin of the term Grand Mal seizure[edit]

Can we get something on the page about the origin of the term Grand Mal seizure? - JNighthawk (talk) 09:38, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

And a citation on this suggestion that the term "grand mal" or "gran mal" is somehow deprecated or discouraged in clinical practice nowadays, as this doesn't tally with my experience at all. tomasz. 12:57, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm currently reading Musicophilia and notice that Oliver Sacks seems to be using the term grand mal in his 2007 publication. My understanding would be that these terms (grand mal and petit mal) are lacking in comparison to such terminology as tonic-clonic because they are less descriptive (meaning "very bad", and "not-so-bad", in my understanding). I don't know, however, if its appropriate to go so far as to say they are "discouraged and rarely used in a clinical setting". Does anyone have a citation or explaination? ./zro (⠠⠵) 01:04, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if this will help, but my doctors have used both grand mal and petit mal in clinical settings in the past week (week of Jan 26, 2009). SamWhitey (talk) 04:03, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I concur; my sister has photosensitive epilepsy, and her siblings (myself included) have had to undergo testing for the same. The terminology consistently used by neurologists and A&E staff (after grand mal seizures) was the French grand/petit mal. DrPizza (talk) 23:16, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

It's french in origins is it not? I have grand mal epilepsy and the term doesn't bother me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Radiojonty (talkcontribs) 05:17, 26 February 2009 (UTC)


They are French in origin, Grand meaning large and petit (pronounced peti) meaning small. And this whole thing about certain terms falling out of favor among neurologists is silly. I had juvenile onset epilepsy and I was forced to so see a special therapist to "help me deal" with being epileptic. I felt worse after talking to her and all I took away was her telling me I should not use the term epilepsy because it had negative connotations and that the term seizure disorder was preferred. Yeah, because the word disorder has no negative connotations. Sorry to hijack the discussion page for my personal story, I just thought it was relevant in the what should we call it discussion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 151.199.87.102 (talk) 00:37, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I have removed the the phrase gran mal from the text, which appears to be a layman's mishearing or mistyping of grand mal. A quick check of Principles of Neuroscience, by Kandel, et al shows only the use of the term grand mal, and Stedman's Medical Dictionary has the same. I could provide additional references or provide more detailed citations for these, if needed.

"Grand" and "petit" are falling out of favor because they are often taken as reference to severity. Tonic-clonic seizures can be no more severe than absence seizures in outward appearance, with the clonic phase being almost imperceptible (externally) twitching in the tonic stiffened limbs. Also, TC seizures do not necessarily cause loss of consciousness. Like absence seizures they can cause loss of awareness of environment while maintaining an internal experience of awareness and duration, with environmental perception ranging from entirely intact to obscured by visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations, most often a mixture of these. Also, the effects on muscle tone are not necessarily so severe as to cause one to fall down. The essential differences are the tonic-clonic effects and generalized vs. localized effects on EEG, although tonic-clonic can begin with the same local ictal EEG ("spike and dome") as absence type. As with many, if not most, cases of diagnostic definition, many of the specific signs and symptoms that are initially used to differentiate end up being used as defining characteristics, producing exaggerated definitions, while in the real world those differences and the conditions themselves are usually not so extreme.

Drmcclainphd (talk) 14:58, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

"Swallow their tongue"[edit]

The term usually refers to the tongue root falling and blocking the airway, and the comment there is irrelevant to the subject, as far as I know it can't happen in tonic-clonic seizures either, because of the level of consciousness attained, but it needs to be changed somehow. SurDin (talk) 11:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

This is a common myth I encounter often with my TC epilepsy. The tongue is attatched to the floor of the mandible by an anchor called the "frenulum linguae", so it cannot block the airway. Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).