Parietal Lobe Epilepsy

By: Aliana Gordon

Parietal lobe epilepsy is a rare form of epilepsy that affects the somatic senses of the body. The
somatic senses embody touch, recognizing objects through touch (haptic perception), and the
sense of position and movement (proprioception). Individuals that suffer from parietal lobe
epilepsy often experience a disconnect between themselves and touch, pressure, pain,
temperature, and/or tension when handling various objects. The ability to perceive size, shape,
distance, and bodily orientation are also quite difficult. Skills such as language, writing, and
math analysis are typically impacted.
It approximately impacts 10% of all epilepsy patients but can be overlooked by the unusual
signs/symptoms that occur and the false localization of electroencephalographic (EEG) analysis
Like most cases of epilepsy, the occurrence of head trauma, strokes, and tumors could result in
the development of parietal lobe epilepsy. However, approximately 20% of cases have
unknown causes.

parietal lobe epilepsy

This graphic displays the lobes of the brain and their respective functions (2).
Due to the impact of the parietal lobe epilepsy, changes in bodily sensations arise.
Somatosensory seizures are often present in parietal lobe epilepsy. Common symptoms include
numbness, tingling, hot sensations, cold sensations, pressure, and pain in various parts of the
body. The occurrence of a somatosensory seizure can be manifested by a simple focal seizure
when there is unusual electrical activity in a region of the brain (3). Somatic illusions are a
common symptom that involves the misperception of real external stimuli and can cause one to
fear their own body. Distortion of posture, verbalizations of phantom limb movement, and
other unreal beliefs regarding their body occur when one is having these illusions. Similarly, the
inability to interpret distant sizes and shapes can lead to visual hallucinations. Painful
dysesthesias — chronic pain triggered by the central nervous system — such as vertigo and
aphasia, are typical within this form of epilepsy (4). The parietal lobe plays an important
function in the synaptic network, unfortunately resulting in other brain areas to become faulty.
Patients with parietal lobe epilepsy can exhibit language disturbances, which are typically
associated with the frontal lobe. Disturbances can manifest as difficulties in understanding
written words, speech, and performing simple math.

The use of medication is shown to be effective to control somatosensory seizures.
Common medications are:
• Carbamazepine
o Anticonvulsant decreases nerve impulses related to seizures
• Levetiracetam
o Commonly used for partial-onset and tonic-clonic seizures
• Lamotrigine
o Fewer side effects but may be less helpful
If the case is severe, surgery may be required such as a parietal lobectomy when a portion of
the lobe is removed.

(1) Anna-Marieta Moise, et al. “Surgical Outcome of Parietal Lobe Epilepsy
(P7.278).” Neurology, vol. 82, no. 10 Supplement, 8 Apr. 2014, Accessed 17 Nov. 2020.
(2) Handley, Samantha. “#PurpleDay – Identifying Types of Epilepsy | Spencers
Solicitors.”, 2016,
. Accessed 17 Nov. 2020.
(3) “Parietal Lobe Epilepsies.” Epilepsy Foundation, 2014,
Accessed 17 Nov. 2020.

(4)Salanova, Vicenta. “Parietal Lobe Epilepsy.” Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, vol. 29,
no. 5, Oct. 2012, pp. 392–396,,
. Accessed 17 Nov. 2020.

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