Narrator: This is Science Today. Seizures occur when the brain's neurons misfire, frequently causing abnormal movement and behavior in the human body. When a seizure happens, the brain can often return to its normal functions rather quickly - usually in less than a minute. But as Doctor Brian Alldredge, a neurology professor at the University of California at San Francisco points out, sometimes the brain is unable to respond.
Alldredge: In some cases, either when people have epilepsy or people have an insult to the brain that causes their first seizure in their lifetime, the normal brain functions that stop seizures cannot be present, or the extent of the injury is so big that the brain can't stop the injury by itself.
Narrator: If a seizure lasts for much longer than a minute, Alldredge says the situation can be life threatening.
Alldredge: And when it starts to last three, four, five minutes and longer than that, it becomes what we call an acute seizure or an emergent seizure - something that requires emergency medical attention.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.