June 14, 2023

Ictal Blinking Triggered by Isolated Spikes as the Only Manifestation of Seizures

Abstract found on Wiley Online Library

Objective: To describe blinking as the only manifestation of seizures from isolated focal and generalized cortical spikes and investigate the relationship between blinks and epileptic discharges.

Methods: We measured the latency from the onset of spikes to the onset of blinks in two patients using electroencephalogram (EEG) and an electrooculogram (EOG), and calculated the median latency in both cases. We analyzed the latency from spike onset to the onset of additional specific eye movements, seen only in the second case. To determine the frequency of spontaneous blinks (not triggered by spikes), we defined a “control point” at 45?s following a random spike for the first case. We tested for statistically significant associations between latencies of blinks (Case 1) as well as between latencies of blinks and specific eye movements (Case 2).

Results: A total of 174 generalized spike-waves followed by a blink were analyzed in the first patient. Approximately 61% of the blinks occurred within 150–450?ms after the onset of the spike. Median latency for blinks following a spike was 294?ms compared to 541?ms for control blinks (p = .02). For the second patient, a total of 160 eye movements following a right occipito-parietal spike were analyzed. The median spike-blink latency in the second case was 497 milliseconds. Median latencies of spike onset to contralateral oblique eye movements with blink and left lateral eye movements were 648 and 655 milliseconds, respectively.

Conclusions: Our study shows that isolated cortical spikes can induce epileptic seizures consisting exclusively of blinks. These findings emphasize the importance of careful EEG and EOG analysis to determine blinking as the only ictal phenomenon. We additionally describe a new technique to prove the temporal relationship between cortical discharges and a specific movement when, in addition to the movements triggered by a spike, the same movement is also spontaneously performed by the patient (in this case, blinking).