Unsolved:Aura (symptom)

From HandWiki
Short description: Symptom of epilepsy and migraine
Migraine aura.jpg
Artist's depiction of zig-zag lines experienced as part of a migraine aura phenomenon
SpecialtyNeurology, neuro-ophthalmology
TypesScintillating scotoma
Differential diagnosisPersistent aura without infarction, retinal migraine, visual snow

An aura is a perceptual disturbance experienced by some with epilepsy or migraine. An epileptic aura is a seizure.[1]

Epileptic and migraine auras are due to the involvement of specific areas of the brain, which are those that determine the symptoms of the aura. Therefore, if the visual area is affected, the aura will consist of visual symptoms, while if a sensory one, then sensory symptoms will occur.

Epileptic auras are subjective sensory or psychic phenomena due to a focal seizure, i.e. a seizure that originates from that area of the brain responsible for the function which then expresses itself with the symptoms of the aura. It is important because it makes it clear where the alteration causing the seizure is located. An epileptic aura is in most cases followed by other manifestations of a seizure, for example a convulsion, since the epileptic discharge spreads to other parts of the brain. Rarely it remains isolated. Auras, when they occur, allow some people who have epilepsy time to prevent injury to themselves and/or others when they lose consciousness.


The aura of migraine is visual in the vast majority of cases, because dysfunction starts from the visual cortex. The aura is usually followed, after a time varying from minutes to an hour, by the migraine headache. However, the migraine aura can manifest itself in isolation, that is, without being followed by headache. The aura can stay for the duration of the migraine; depending on the type of aura, it can leave the person disoriented and confused. It is common for people with migraines to experience more than one type of aura during the migraine. Most people who have auras have the same type of aura every time.[citation needed]

Auras can also be confused with sudden onset of panic, panic attacks or anxiety attacks, which creates difficulties in diagnosis. The differential diagnosis of patients who experience symptoms of paresthesias, derealization, dizziness, chest pain, tremors, and palpitations can be quite challenging.[2]


An epileptic aura is the consequence of the activation of functional cortex by abnormal neuronal discharge.[3] In addition to being a warning sign for an impending seizure, the nature of an aura can give insight into the localization and lateralization of the seizure or migraine.[4][5]

The most common auras include motor, somatosensory, visual, and auditory symptoms.[6] The activation in the brain during an aura can spread through multiple regions continuously or discontinuously, on the same side or to both sides.[7]

Auras are particularly common in focal seizures. If the motor cortex is involved in the overstimulation of neurons, motor auras can result. Likewise, somatosensory auras (such as tingling, numbness, and pain) can result if the somatosensory cortex is involved. When the primary somatosensory cortex is activated, more discrete parts on the opposite side of the body and the secondary somatosensory areas result in symptoms ipsilateral to the seizure focus.[8][9]

Visual auras can be simple or complex. Simple visual symptoms can include static, flashing, or moving lights/shapes/colors caused mostly by abnormal activity in the primary visual cortex. Complex visual auras can include people, scenes, and objects which results from stimulation of the temporo-occipital junction and is lateralized to one hemifield. Auditory auras can also be simple (ringing, buzzing) or complex (voices, music). Simple symptoms can occur from activation in the primary auditory cortex and complex symptoms from the temporo-occipital cortex at the location of the auditory association areas.[10]


Artist's depiction of scintillating scotoma
Example of a scintillating scotoma aura with each dot or line flickering
Example of scintillating scotoma showing an obscured/distorted area bordered with colors

An aura sensation can include one or a combination of the following:

Visual changes

Auditory changes

  • Hearing voices or sounds that do not exist: auditory hallucinations[18]
  • Modification of voices or sounds in the environment: buzzing, tremolo, amplitude modulation or other modulations
  • Heightened sensitivity to hearing[19]
  • Vestibular dysfunction causing vertigo[20]

Other sensations

Animated depictions

See also


  1. Epilepsy auras
  2. Hurley, Robin A.; Fisher, Ronald; Taber, Katherine H. (1 October 2006). "Sudden Onset Panic: Epileptic Aura or Panic Disorder?". The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 18 (4): 436–443. doi:10.1176/jnp.2006.18.4.436. PMID 17135371. 
  3. Perven G and So NK (2015). "Epileptic auras: phenomenology and neurophysiology.". Epileptic Disorders 17 (4): 549–562. doi:10.1684/epd.2015.0786. PMID 26643374. 
  4. Ye, Byoung Seok; Cho, Yang-Je; Jang, Sang Hyun; Lee, Moon Kyu; Lee, Byung In; Heo, Kyoung (2012-05-01). "The Localizing and Lateralizing Value of Auras in Lesional Partial Epilepsy Patients". Yonsei Medical Journal 53 (3): 477–485. doi:10.3349/ymj.2012.53.3.477. PMID 22476989. 
  5. Foldvary-Schaefer, N.; Unnwongse, K. (February 2011). "Localizing and lateralizing features of auras and seizures". Epilepsy & Behavior 20 (2): 160–166. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.08.034. PMID 20926350. 
  6. Sharma S., Dixit V. (2013). "Epilepsy – A Comprehensive Review". International Journal of Pharmacological Research & Review 2 (12): 61–80. 
  7. Tuxhorn I. E. B. (2005). "Somatosensory auras in focal epilepsy: A clinical, video EEG and MRI study". Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy 14 (4): 262–268. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2005.02.005. PMID 15911361. 
  8. Tuxhorn, I. E. B. (2005-06-01). "Somatosensory auras in focal epilepsy: A clinical, video EEG and MRI study" (in en). Seizure 14 (4): 262–268. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2005.02.005. PMID 15911361. 
  9. Fakhoury, T.; Abou-Khalil, B. (November 1995). "Association of ipsilateral head turning and dystonia in temporal lobe seizures". Epilepsia 36 (11): 1065–1070. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1995.tb00463.x. PMID 7588449. 
  10. Foldvary-Schaefer, Nancy; Unnwongse, Kanjana (1 February 2011). "Localizing and lateralizing features of auras and seizures". Epilepsy & Behavior 20 (2): 160–166. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.08.034. PMID 20926350. 
  11. "Aura: Migraine's Odd Companion" (in en-US). 20 February 2018. https://www.migraineurmagazine.com/migraineur/aura-migraine-odd-companion. 
  12. "Patient's Guide to Visual Migraine - Brigham and Women's Hospital". https://www.brighamandwomens.org/neurology/neuro-ophthalmology/visual-migraine#:~:text=A%20visual%20migraine%20is%20a,minutes%20and%20then%20completely%20resolve.. 
  13. "Alice in Wonderland Syndrome - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/alice-in-wonderland-syndrome. 
  14. "Understanding the Aura Stage of Migraine Doctor Q&A" (in en-US). 2020-12-30. https://www.migraineagain.com/aura-phase/. 
  15. OD, By George T. Banyas. "Visual Aura and Scotomas: What Do They Indicate?". https://www.reviewofoptometry.com/article/visual-aura--and-scotomas-what-do-they-indicate. 
  16. Liao, Sharon. "Causes of Temporary Blindness and Short-Term Vision Loss" (in en). https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/temporary-blindness-short-term-vision-loss. 
  17. "Photophobia: Causes, symptoms, and treatment" (in en). 2021-08-16. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/photophobia. 
  18. DiLonardo, Mary Jo. "Epilepsy: What is Seizure With Aura?" (in en). https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/seizure-with-aura. 
  19. van der Feltz-Cornelis, Christina M; Biemans, Henk; Timmer, Jan (2012). "Hearing voices: does it give your patient a headache? A case of auditory hallucinations as acoustic aura in migraine". Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 8: 105–111. doi:10.2147/NDT.S29300. PMID 22536065. 
  20. Bernetti, L.; Pellegrino, C.; Corbelli, I.; Caproni, S.; Eusebi, P.; Faralli, M.; Ricci, G.; Calabresi, P. et al. (16 April 2018). "Subclinical vestibular dysfunction in migraineurs without vertigo". Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 138 (4): 270–277. doi:10.1111/ane.12941. PMID 29658983. 
  21. Jion, Y. I.; Grosberg, B. M.; Evans, R. W. (22 August 2016). "Phantosmia and Migraine With and Without Headache". Headache 56 (9): 1494–1502. doi:10.1111/head.12890. PMID 27545897. 
  22. "Can Being Sensitive to Smells Impact Migraine?" (in en-US). https://www.excedrin.com/migraines/causes/can-smells-cause-migraines/. 
  23. Marcel Neckar; Petr Bob (11 January 2016). "Synesthetic associations and psychosensory symptoms of temporal epilepsy". Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 12: 109–12. doi:10.2147/NDT.S95464. PMID 26811683. 
  24. Adachi, Naoto; Akanuma, Nozomi; Ito, Masumi; Adachi, Takuya; Takekawa, Yoshikazu; Adachi, Yasushi; Matsuura, Masato; Kanemoto, Kousuke et al. (2010-07-01). "Two forms of deja vu experiences in patients with epilepsy". Epilepsy & Behavior 18 (3): 218–22. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.02.016. PMID 20494621. 
  25. Kakisaka, Y.; Jehi, L.; Alkawadri, R.; Wang, Z. I.; Enatsu, R.; Mosher, J. C.; Dubarry, A. S.; Alexopoulos, A. V. et al. (August 2014). "Cephalic aura after frontal lobe resection". Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 21 (8): 1450–1452. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2013.11.024. PMID 24613491. 
  26. Hoffman, Matthew; MD. "Abdominal Epilepsy in Children and Adults" (in en). https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/abdominal-epilepsy-in-children-and-adults. 
  27. Sekimoto, M.; Kato, M.; Kaneko, Y.; Onuma, T. (December 2007). "Ictal nausea with vomiting as the major symptom of simple partial seizures". Epilepsy & Behavior 11 (4): 582–587. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2007.08.023. PMID 18054131. 
  28. Erickson, J. C.; Clapp, L. E.; Ford, G.; Jabbari, B. (2006). "Somatosensory auras in refractory temporal lobe epilepsy". Epilepsia 47 (1): 202–206. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2006.00388.x. PMID 16417550. 
  29. Kumar, Anil; Samanta, Debopam; Emmady, Prabhu D.; Arora, Rohan (2021), "Hemiplegic Migraine", StatPearls (Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing), PMID 30020674, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513302/, retrieved 2022-01-11 
  30. "Dissociation and depersonalization: Causes, risk factors, and symptoms" (in en). 2019-05-17. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262888. 
  31. "Brain & Spine Foundation | Migraine" (in en). https://www.brainandspine.org.uk/our-publications/our-fact-sheets/migraine/. 
  32. "Recognizing Aphasia During a Migraine Attack" (in en-US). https://www.northsuffolkneurology.com/blog/recognizing-aphasia-during-a-migraine-attack-22559.html. 
  33. Page 258 in: Britt Talley Daniel (2010). Migraine. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-4490-6962-9. https://books.google.com/books?id=YSoSECeCudIC. 

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