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November 1979

Seizure Disorders and Disturbances of Consciousness—Panel 6

Arch Neurol. 1979;36(12):782-783. doi:10.1001/archneur.1979.00500480056008

The topics discussed in this section include the epilepsies, or seizure disorders, and disturbances of consciousness. Under the term "disturbances of consciousness" are reviewed syncope, paroxysmal alterations of consciousness due to metabolic derangement, hypersomnia, and unexplained loss of consciousness. It is recognized that maintaining proper performance of an aircraft requires the full mental and physical capacities of the persons in control of the aircraft. Therefore, any event that impairs the higher cortical functions of one of the aircrew can place the aircraft and its occupants in jeopardy.

THE EPILEPSIES Minimum Criteria for Diagnosis  Because of the propensity for recurrence, the minimum criterion for diagnosis of epilepsy is the occurrence of a seizure. In taking a history, the medical examiner must know the symptoms and colloquialisms, some regional, related to convulsions or other seizures. Examples are "fits," "spells," "turns," "spasms," "worm fits," "teething fits," "fever spasms," "starts," "falling-out spells," and "blackouts."

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