Insular cortex activation in a patient with "sensed presence"/ecstatic seizures
2011 (English)In: EPILEPSY and BEHAVIOR, ISSN 1525-5050, Vol. 20, no 4, 714-718 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Objective: Seizures with an aura of a "sensed presence," a religious emotion, or feelings of euphoria (ecstatic seizures) are characterized by heightened self-awareness. A previous case report on a patient with epilepsy and "sensed presence" as an aura described hypoperfusion in both temporal lobes and a local ictal increase in the left frontoparietal area. A reexamination of the data was suggested by a recent study of patients with ecstatic seizures, which proposed that hyperactivation of the left anterior insula might be a potential cause. Methods: We reanalyzed the laboratory data on the case with "sensed presence" aura using a fusion of SPECT and MR images of the brain, which had not previously been available, and a close examination of the subdural ictal EEG registrations. Results: Examination of the ictal EEG recordings from subdural strip electrodes implanted subtemporally and temporally on both sides showed that seizure activity occurred first at the most medial subtemporal electrode on the left side. From an anatomical point of view, this electrode position is close to the ventral aspect of the left anterior insula, and it is possible that the seizure activity was initiated there. Reexamination of the SPECT data after fusion with contemporary MR images clearly indicated that the region of strong hyperactivation overlies the left anterior insula. Hyperactive regions also appear on the midinsula bilaterally. Together with the neurophysiological ictal EEG, this evidence supports a reinterpretation that this aura of "sensed presence" can be attributed to hyperactivation of the left anterior insula. Conclusion: The present findings support the proposal that ecstatic seizures or "sensed presence" auras can originate from the left anterior insula, a region that has been suggested to engender self-awareness associated with positive feelings.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam , 2011. Vol. 20, no 4, 714-718 p.
Seizures, Psychological, Ictal, Single-photon-emission computed tomography, Electroencephalography, Magnetic resonance imaging, Aura, Insula, Ecstatic
National CategoryEngineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-68226DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2011.01.031ISI: 000290056200022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-68226DiVA: diva2:416856