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Jacksonian seizure
Classification and external resources
Cortical homunculus (Motor homunculus is red, showing correspondence between body and brain.)
ICD-10 G401
ICD-9 345.5
MeSH D012640

Jacksonian seizure (or Jacksonian march) is a phenomenon where simple partial seizure spread from distal part of limb to face ipsilaterally (on same side of body). They involve a progression of the location of the seizure in the brain, which leads to a "march" of the motor presentation of symptoms.[1]


Epilepsy involves abnormal activity in the brain that can lead to neurons firing at many times their normal rate. This leads to a kind of electrical "storm" developing in the brain and can lead to temporary impairment to the sensory, motor, and cognitive functions.

Jacksonian seizures are initiated with abnormal electrical activity within the primary motor cortex. They are unique in that they travel through the primary motor cortex in succession, affecting the corresponding muscles, often beginning with the fingers. This is felt as a tingling sensation. It then affects the hand and moves on to more proximal areas on the same side of body. Symptoms often associated with a Jacksonian seizure are sudden head and eye movements, tingling, numbness, smacking of the lips, and sudden muscle contractions. Most of the time any one of these actions can be seen as normal movements, without being associated with the seizure occurring[citation needed]. They occur at no particular moment and last only briefly. They may result into secondary generalized seizure involving both hemispheres. They can also start at the feet, same tingling (pins and needles), there is cramping of the foot muscles which, due to the signals from the brain, causes great pain. Postictal state is of normal consciousness.

Jacksonian seizures are extremely varied and may involve, for example, apparently purposeful movements such as turning the head, eye movements, smacking the lips, mouth movements, drooling, rhythmic muscle contractions in a part of the body, abnormal numbness, tingling, and a crawling sensation over the skin. Jacksonian seizures are a form of epilepsy.


These seizures are named after their discoverer, John Hughlings Jackson,[2] an English neurologist, whose studies led to the discovery of the seizures' initiation point (in the primary motor cortex) in 1863.



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