Jacksonian Seizures


A Jacksonian seizure is a type of focal partial seizure, also known as a simple partial seizure. This means the seizure is caused by unusual electrical activity that affects only a small area of the brain. The person maintains awareness during the seizure.

Jacksonian seizures are also known as a Jacksonian march. This is because the tingling or twitching begins in a small area and then "marches" or spreads to a larger area of the body.


Jacksonian seizures usually only affect one side of the body. The seizure usually begins with a tingling or twitching sensation in a small area such as:

  • Finger
  • Toe
  • Corner of the mouth

The sensation then spreads to a larger area of the body.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Licking lips
  • Fumbling with clothing
  • Rhythmic hand movements
  • Head turning
  • Eye movement
  • Muscle cramping
  • Numbness
  • Hallucinations
  • Drooling

Causes and Risk Factors

Jacksonian seizures can be linked to multiple sclerosis (MS).

Patients over the age of 65 have a higher risk of developing the condition.

Underlying causes that have been linked to Jacksonian seizures include:


The most useful test in diagnosing seizures is an electroencephalogram (EEG). This records electrical activity in the brain. EEG can show unusual electrical activity patterns. Different types of seizures can be identified with these patterns.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans may be used to study the condition. These images can also show where the seizure is happening in the brain. The scans can also rule out other possible causes such as unusual brain development.


If the condition is caused by a brain lesion that is treatable, surgery may be the best treatment option.

Anti-seizure medications are a common treatment used for Jacksonian seizures. These may include:

  • Valproate
  • Topiramate
  • Vitamin B6
  • Zonisamide
  • Clobazam

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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