Age-related gender differences in reporting ictal fear: analysis of case histories and review of the literature.
ABSTRACT To determine if there are age or gender-related differences in reporting fear as a symptom of epileptic seizure, all clinical charts of patients evaluated at the "C. Munari - Epilepsy Surgery Center" of Milan from 1990 to June 2005 were analyzed, looking for patients with ictal fear. Among the 2,530 clinical charts examined (1,330 male and 1,200 female), 265 patients were found with ictal fear (100 men, 165 women). The gender difference in reporting ictal fear was not so marked in the pediatric age group (98 girls, 74 boys), whereas in adult patients the difference was significant (158 women, 83 men). Interestingly, more men than women (14:3) had ictal fear during childhood that disappeared during adulthood. The literature review confirmed that ictal fear is significantly more common in women, though there is no gender difference in the pediatric age group.
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ABSTRACT: There are circumstances in which partial seizures may be misdiagnosed as acute psychiatric disturbances. In particular, when fear is the prominent feature the patient may be considered for years as having panic attacks. Eight patients in whom fear was the main symptom of the seizures are reported on. Patients who had a proved lack of consciousness during the fits and patients in whom fear was just fear of having a seizure were excluded. The ictal involvement of temporal limbic and frontal structures in those patients with fear of particular intensity was studied. The localisation of the epileptogenic zone was assessed by prolonged interictal EEG recordings as well as ictal video-EEG recording of at least one seizure in every patient; five had ictal SPECT and four had chronic stereotactic implantation of depth electrodes (SEEG). In six patients, a cortical resection was performed with an Engel's class 1 outcome (minimum 28 months follow up, except for two patients). Localisations of primary epileptogenic zones were right temporal in three patients, left temporal in three, bitemporal in one, and frontal in one. In all cases, diagnosis of epileptic seizures could be clinically evoked because of the stereotypy of fits and of associated symptoms. The association of a fear sensation, autonomic symptoms, and coordinated behaviour suggests disturbance of a particular system. The SEEG data argue for temporolimbic and prefrontal lobe involvement in the expression of ictal fear. In intense ictal fear, with coordinated behaviour and autonomic features, the discharge may involve or interfere with a physiological complex information processing network. This network involves orbitoprefrontal, anterior cingulate, and temporal limbic cortices.Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 03/2001; 70(2):186-91. · 4.92 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Bouts of unusually frequent partial complex seizures originating in the temporal lobe, that sometimes became secondarily generalized, induced psychotic episodes in 9 patients. In 7, the increase in seizures occurred at a time when antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) were being reduced during intensive EEG monitoring with a view to surgical treatment of intractable epilepsy. According to DSM-III-R criteria, the postictal psychosis resembled an organic delusional syndrome which was paranoid in 7 and schizophreniform in 1 and an organic mood syndrome in 1. A high incidence of ictal fear, of bilateral independent epileptogenic discharge, and of small foreign tissue lesion were unexpected findings and appeared to represent risk factors, especially in patients otherwise handicapped by an epileptic personality disorder. Recognition of postictal psychosis in this setting and in others is important both prognostically and therapeutically. Postictal psychosis does not constitute a contraindication to surgical treatment of epilepsy.Epilepsia 01/1991; 32(2):225-31. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Purpose. We sought to determine the prevalence of psychiatric conditions, particularly panic disorder, in epilepsy patients with ictal fear.Methods. A consecutive series of 12 patients with ictal fear underwent psychiatric evaluation, via either formal consultation with a psychiatrist or standardized interview using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview; the latter was addended to create an instrument specifically for use in epilepsy patients (MINI-Epi).Results. Four of the twelve patients (33%) with ictal fear had a comorbid diagnosis of panic disorder. One of these developed panic attacks only after epilepsy surgery, and another worsened after surgery, while in the other two panic attacks were not related to any surgical procedure. Two patients had other anxiety disorders. Eight patients (67%) had current or past depression; this did not appear to be related to the presence of panic disorder.Conclusion. A specific comorbidity exists between focal epilepsy with ictal fear and panic disorder. Involvement of the amygdala in both temporal lobe epilepsy and panic disorder may underlie this. The predisposition to panic disorder in these patients may be exacerbated by anterior temporal lobectomy.Epilepsy & Behavior 01/2003; 3(6):564. · 1.84 Impact Factor