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glossary - t

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Temporal lobes – the areas of the brain at the side of the head, above your ears. The temporal lobes are responsible for making memories and remembering, and emotions (such as feeling happy or sad). They are also involved in speech, hearing and perception (how we see the world around us).

Temporal lobe epilepsy – epilepsy where the person has focal seizures that start in the temporal lobe.

Temporal lobe seizures – focal seizures that start in the temporal lobe. Simple focal seizures from the temporal lobe include an epigastric rising sensation, déjà vu, a sudden feeling of fear or joy or a funny taste or smell. Complex focal seizures from this area include automatisms such as lip-smacking, making chewing movements with the mouth or fiddling with objects or clothes.

Teratogenic – the effect that medications can have on the development of an unborn baby. If a mother takes AEDs while she is pregnant, her baby can be affected by them. These effects are sometimes called birth defects or developmental abnormalities, and can include problems with the development of the heart, lungs or nervous system.

Testosterone  – male hormone that is also produced in a woman's body.

Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) – a way of managing epilepsy treatment by measuring the ‘blood level’ or amount of the drug in the blood. It is sometimes called taking ‘plasma levels’ or ‘serum levels’ because the drug is measured in the liquid part of your blood (not the blood cells), called plasma or serum. TDM is helpful in many situations: to see if the right amount of drug is being taken, if drugs are becoming toxic, and to monitor how different situations affect medication (for example, pregnancy or starting medication for another condition).

Todd’s paralysis – temporary paralysis of part of the body that has been involved in a seizure (for example, an arm or leg).

Tolerance - when a drug becomes less effective the longer you take it.

Tonic clonic seizure – a type of generalised seizure where the person stiffens (the ‘tonic’ part), falls down if they are standing, and then shakes, jerks or convulses (the ‘clonic’ part). They may bite their tongue or cry out at the start of the seizure, and might wet themselves. This type of seizure usually last a few minutes but it can take the person a long time to recover and they may feel very confused, tired and want to sleep afterwards.

Tonic seizure – a type of generalised seizure where the person’s muscles suddenly become stiff, and they fall down (usually backwards) if they are standing up. Although the seizures don’t hurt, the person might hurt themselves, especially the back of their head, when they fall. These seizures are usually very brief and the person becomes conscious again very quickly.

Toxicity – when too much of a drug is taken and it starts to have a poisonous effect on the person.

Transition - when the management of someone's epilepsy moves ('transfers') from a paediatrician to a neurologist. Transition usually happens at around 16 - 18 years of age.

Treatment plan – a record of the number and types of AED taken, when to take them and what to do if they do not work or need adjusting or changing. This is also called a drug plan.

Trigger – a situation or event that brings on, or causes, a seizure. Triggers can vary from one person to another and include photosensitivity, stress and lack of sleep. Some people do not have any seizure triggers. Triggers are different from, and may be confused with, causes of epilepsy.

Tuberous Sclerosis (TS) – a genetic condition that causes growths in organs including the brain. TS can cause epilepsy.