Clinical Neuroscience

[Dostoyevsky’s epilepsy in the light of recent neurobiological data]

TÉNYI Dalma, RAJNA Péter, JANSZKY József, HORVÁTH Zsuzsanna, TÉNYI Tamás, GYIMESI Csilla

JANUARY 30, 2014

Clinical Neuroscience - 2014;67(01-02)

[Background and purpose -Since the 1960s several theories have developed on the epilepsy of Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky. Probably the most exciting and still actual question might be the subject of the „ecstatic aura”, he described in his novels based on his own experiences. During this extremely rare seizure onset the patients experience a strong sense of happiness, harmony and wholeness. The symptomatogenic zone of ecstatic seizures were considered to be of temporal lobe origin for a long time. Lately though this theory seems to be questioned based on the results of SPECT and deep brain EEG monitoring techniques in addition to the enrichment of our knowledge concerning the function of the insular cortex. Methods - Literary and scientific overview on the subject of Dostoyevsky’s epilepsy, with special concern to his ecstatic seizures. Results and conclusion - According to new electrophysiology and imaging techniques ecstatic seizures - including the seizure onset of Dostoyevsky - could rather be connected to the insular cortex.]

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