FITS AND FUNNY TURNS
Fits and funny turns mean different things to different people. In neurology we generally understand these to be episodes of lost or altered consciousness. Common causes include simple faints, abnormal and disordered electrical discharges within the brain (epilepsy) or transient drops in blood pressure due to heart problems. Not all epilepsy results in unconscious shaking on the floor, and often an attack involves a person merely appearing vacant and staring for a short period of time. Whilst tests such as scans and EEG can aid in the diagnosis, the critical assessment is the story obtained from the patient and any eye witnesses by the neurologist. Often just through the story and examination the neurologist can not only tell whether epilepsy is likely to be the problem, they can actually tell which part of the brain is giving rise to the epilepsy. This assessment is very important as not infrequently epilepsy is misdiagnosed which can result in unnecessary tablet treatment and missing other treatable causes.