JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Unilateral hand automatisms in temporal lobe epilepsy.

OBJECTIVES: To analyse the lateralising value of unilateral manual automatism (UMA), its relation to contralateral dystonia and the hand by which the UMA was performed.

METHODS: In this retrospective study, we reviewed video recordings of 141 patients (mean age 34.1+/-10) who had consecutively undergone presurgical evaluations with ictal video-EEG recordings and high-resolution MRI, had had epilepsy surgery due to intractable medial temporal lobe epilepsy with complex partial seizures due to unilateral medial temporal lobe lesions. The video recordings were prospectively reviewed by one of the authors blinded to patient's clinical data except the diagnosis of medial temporal lobe epilepsy. Altogether 310 archived seizures were analysed.

RESULTS: Hand automatisms occurred in 86.5% of patients. UMA occurred in 53% of patients. If UMA was accompanied by contralateral hand dystonia, it had a high lateralising value to the ipsilateral epileptic focus (EF), it was ipsilateral in 85% of patients. Conversely, if UMA occurred without contralateral dystonia, it had only a limited lateralising value because it was ipsilateral to the EF in only 63% of patients. However, we found that left-sided UMA without dystonia had a high lateralising value to the left hemisphere (ipsilateral to the EF in 82%), while right-sided UMA without dystonia has practically no lateralising value.

CONCLUSIONS: UMA with contralateral dystonia has a high lateralising value to the ipsilateral hemisphere. Left-sided UMA without contralateral dystonia has a lateralising value to the left hemisphere. Right-sided UMA without contralateral dystonia has no lateralising value.

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