Nonmanipulative proximal upper extremity automatisms lateralize contralaterally in temporal lobe epilepsy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Upper extremity automatisms are considered to be an ipsilateral seizure lateralizing sign in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Herein we describe different types of contralateral upper extremity automatisms (CUEAs). Methods: One hundred ninety-three video-(electroencephalography) EEGrecordings of 59 patients were reviewed. Other than two patients who refused surgery, all patients underwent standardized temporal lobectomy with favorable postoperative outcome. Fifty-seven seizures of 21 patients were selected with CUEAs. We evaluated their electroclinical characteristics and their relation to other lateralizing motor symptoms. Results: Two types of CUEAs were observed. Nonmanipulative, proximal upper extremity automatisms were seen unilaterally and contralaterally to the operated side. These automatisms were rhythmic; repetitive; and often occurred with a circulatory component resembling waving, flaunting, circling, or stirring movements. They occurred in 29 seizures (15%) of 11 patients (19%), in most seizures in the first half of the seizure, and never postictally, in various time sequences and combined with dystonic/tonic posturing or limb immobility. Manipulative/distal type of CUEAs occurred in 11 seizures (6%) of 7 patients (12%) on the unexpected contralateral side. These CUEAs were seen in all phases of the seizures, including in the postictal state. Discussion: Nonmanipulative unilateral proximal upper extremity automatism is a reliable lateralizing sign to the contralateral hemisphere in TLE. This sign may be pathophysiologically related to dystonic/tonic posturing. Manipulative distal automatisms have less lateralizing value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-220
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 5 2010


  • Contralateral
  • Dystonia
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Upper extremity automatisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Nonmanipulative proximal upper extremity automatisms lateralize contralaterally in temporal lobe epilepsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this