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According to Samer, an aura is the perceptual disturbance experienced by some migraine sufferers before a migraine headache, and the telltale sensation experienced by some people with epilepsy before a seizure. It often manifests as the perception of a strange light or an unpleasant smell.
An aura does not necessitate the onset of either a migraine or a seizure and not everyone who suffers from migraines or seizures will experience auras. Though auras tend to be an unpleasant and irritating sensation, they can be beneficial. Most injuries from seizures occur when there is no warning. Auras allow epileptics time to prevent injury to themselves. The time between the appearance of the aura and the onset of a migraine or seizure can be anything from a few seconds up to an hour. Most people who have auras have the same type of aura every time.
An aura sensation can include:
- Visual Changes.
- Bright lights.
- Zigzag lines.
- Distortions in the size or shape of object.
- scintillating scotoma
- Shimmering, pulsating patches, often curved.
- Tunnel Vision
- Blind or dark spots in the field of vision.
- Curtain like effect over one eye.
- Slowly spreading spots.
- Kaleidescope effects on visual field
- Total temporary monocular (in one eye) blindness. (in retinal migraine)
- Auditory changes
- Strange smells (olfactory hallucinations).
- Feelings of numbness or tingling on one side of the face or body.
- Feeling separated from one's body.
- Feeling as if your limbs are moving independently from your body.
- Anxiety or fear.
- Weakness, unsteadiness.
- Being unable to understand or comprehend spoken words during and after the aura.
- Being unable to speak properly, despite your brain grasping what you're trying to verbalize. (Aphasia)
- Feeling of power or sense of euphoria (this symptom has been associated with discontinuation of seizure treatments - the sufferer may enjoy the experience and think it worth the seizure or migraine that follows)
- Note: The previous statement suggests that the sense of empowerment experienced from the withdrawal of anticonvulsants is a symptom rather than the return of suppressed brain function. The most common anticonvulsants have hypnotic side effects,the withdrawal from such medications would naturally produce a sense of empowerment. It is a fallacy to suggest that this sensation is part of an illness.
The specific type of sensation associated with an aura can potentially be used in an attempt to localize the focus of a seizure.
See also Edit
- About.com aura summary
- Epilepsy.com information
- Migraine Aura Foundation
- MAGNUM, the National Migraine Association
- Epilepsy Action information
- Migraines with 'aura' raise women's stroke risk
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