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Convulsion - Definition

A convulsion is defined as violent and unexpected involuntary muscle spasms that may occur in either an isolated muscle or throughout the entire body. The origin of a convulsion is essentially neurological, being the exaggerated activity of several brain neurons that are simultaneously sending out nerve impulses. It is called epilepsy when the convulsions are repetitive. Convulsions may be tonic, when the muscles violently contract, or myoclonic, in which the contraction is alternating, causing brief and repeated jolts, or other possible types of movement, due to hyperactive neurons. A convulsion may take different forms. It is not, however, a synonym for epilepsy, notably in infants, who may also have convulsions in the context of an intense fever: these are hyperthermic convulsions which are normally harmless, but nonetheless disturbing for the parents, and they may recur due to a further rise in fever.