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Medicina (Buenos Aires)

versión impresa ISSN 0025-7680versión On-line ISSN 1669-9106


MUCHNIK, S.; FINKIELMAN, S.; SEMENIUK, G.  y  DE AGUIRRE, M. I.. Yawning and temporal lobe epilepsy. Medicina (B. Aires) [online]. 2003, vol.63, n.2, pp.137-139. ISSN 0025-7680.

Temporal lobe epilepsy is a partial epileptic disorder in which mesial structures are responsible for the principal ictal symptoms. Its characteristic feature is the recurrence of simple and complex partial seizures, associated with postictal confusion and amnesia of the event. The facilitating effect of NREM sleep on the propagation of the seizure, as well as the sleep abnormalities provoked by epilepsy were evident in our two patients. Yawning is a physiological reflex induced by arousal and drowsiness and may appear in different neurological conditions. Its relation with epilepsy of limbic origen has been rarely reported. We describe in a 95 year old male patient, the occurrence of yawning followed by complex partial seizure during a state of drowsiness. His EEG showed independent bilateral  interictal foci of temporal sharp waves and after being medicated with carbamazepine 400mg/day, the episode did not recur. Another patient, a 17 year old female, displayed complex partial seizures and secondarily generalized seizures with yawning during the posictal period, after naps. The EEG was normal and her polysomnography showed bilateral synchronous temporal spikes and slow waves with secondarily generalization during stage 2 of NREM sleep that produce paroxysmal microarousals and increased stages 1 and 2 of NREM sleep and REM sleep diminished. After being medicated with divalproex sodium 750 mg/day, she suffered no futher seizures. Temporal lobe epilepsy, sleep- wake cycles and yawning seem not only to share the same anatomic structures but also the same neurochemical mechanisms. The fact that endogenous opiods are considered as part of a protective system that stop and prevent seizures may allow us to postulate that yawning would be the expression of the endogenous opiods induced mechanisms that stop and prevent the recurrence of the temporal lobe epilepsy. Another hypothesis may be that this is only a particular form of temporal lobe epilepsy.

Palabras clave : Yawning; Temporal lobe epilepsy; Sleep-wake cycles.

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