John Libbey Eurotext

Ictal singing: case report and reappraisal of the literature Volume 10, numéro 2, June 2008


  • Ictal singing: case report and reappraisal of the literature


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EEG/Sleep Laboratory, Department of Neurosciences, Epilepsy Study Group, Department of Neurosciences, Hospital de Santa Maria, Faculty of Medicine, Lisbon, Portugal

Singing is a rare ictal symptom of focal epilepsy. We report a case of a left-handed woman, with no musical education, experiencing refractory seizures consisting of the singing of a popular Portuguese folksong, with simultaneous, rhythmic hand clapping. A left mesial temporal sclerosis was successfully treated by selective amygdalohippocampectomy. As in most previously reported cases, the epileptogenic zone was located in the left hemisphere, although the ictal onset zone could not be lateralized on scalp EEG. This clinical case supports the evidence that cerebral music production seems to require both hemispheres, in accordance to the concept that brain specializations for music is associated with a dynamic, well-orchestrated interaction of music-specific neural networks. [Published with video sequences].