Department of Neurosciences, Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada
Division of Neurology, Centre Hospitalier de l’Université Laval, Quebec, Canada
Division of Neurosurgery, Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada
Division of Neurology, Centre Hospitalized de l’Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada
Dènahin H. Toffa
Objective. Déjà-vu is a mental phenomenon commonly experienced during temporal lobe seizures and can be evoked by electrical stimulation of the temporal lobe. We analyzed reproducible déjà-vu experiences evoked by stimulating the insula in two patients with pharmacoresistant temporal lobe epilepsy.
Methods. We reviewed video-electroencephalography (EEG) recordings from extraoperative electrical cortical stimulation sessions. In addition, we performed the directed transfer function (DTF) effective connectivity measure of monopolar signals in Patient 1. To highlight elective changes due to each stimulation, we subtracted pre-stimulation DTF matrices from early poststimulation matrices. This analysis was performed for both non-inducing-déjàvu stimulation (control matrix) and déjà-vu-inducing stimulation (active matrix). Finally, the control matrix was subtracted from the active matrix.
Results. Comparison of effective connectivity during control stimulation versus déjà-vu-inducing stimulation revealed a reversal of connectivity levels in three main regions: the contralateral inferior insula (the ipsilateral insula could not be analyzed), bilateral mesiotemporal regions and the ipsilateral superior frontal gyrus. The drivers of evoked déjà-vu were the mesiotemporal regions (mainly ipsilateral) and the ipsilateral superior frontal gyrus.
Significance. Although our findings are possibly anecdotal, the insula may (in rare instances) remotely generate unexpected déjà-vu. If confirmed by further studies, this might change the assessment strategy for possible causes of anterior temporal lobectomy failure.