Early ictal speech and motor inhibition in fronto-mesial epileptic seizures: A polygraphic study in one patient

S. Meletti, G. Rubboli, S. Testoni, R. Michelucci, G. Cantalupo, M. Stanzani-Maserati, F. Calbucci, Carlo Alberto Tassinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To investigate ictal motor inhibition occurring during seizures in a patient with a tumor located in the left fronto-mesial pre-central cortex. Methods: Awake and sleep video-polygraphic monitoring, recording scalp EEG and EMG activities from several cranial, trunk and limbs muscles, was performed in a patient with drug-resistant recurrent focal motor seizures before surgical treatment. Speech/motor tasks were repeatedly administered to the patient during the recording sessions in order to evaluate the occurrence of early ictal motor inhibition. Results: Thirty-four seizures were recorded during wakefulness showing a stereotyped pattern of inhibition of speech and voluntary movements followed by sequential activation of upper limb-trunk-lower limb muscles contralateral to the tumor. Polygraphic recordings showed that: (1) initial speech and motor arrest were associated with the EMG evidence of progressive muscle tone suppression in cranial and right distal upper limb muscles; (2) tonic contraction of right deltoid, biceps brachii, intercostalis and paraspinalis muscles appeared after motor inhibition; (3) tonic-clonic activity in the right tibialis anterior muscle occurred at the end of seizures. Eleven subclinical seizures were recorded during sleep showing mild focal tonic EMG activity in right side trunk muscles. Conclusions: Our findings evidenced early and somatotopically organized inhibition of voluntary movement at the beginning of epileptic seizures with fronto-mesial onset. The demonstration that speech and motor arrest were associated with progressive EMG suppression in cranial and limb muscles supports the hypothesis of motor inhibitory seizures originating in the mesial aspect of pre-motor frontal cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Inhibitory motor seizures
  • Negative motor areas
  • Polygraphic recordings
  • Speech arrest
  • Supplementary motor area
  • Truncal seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)

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