Insight into epileptic and physiological déjà vu: from a multicentric cohort study

A. Labate, R. Baggetta, M. Trimboli, G. Tripepi, F. Bisulli, A. D'Aniello, O. Daniele, C. Di Bonaventura, G. Di Gennaro, J. Fattouch, E. Ferlazzo, A. Ferrari, S. Gasparini, A. Giallonardo, A. La Neve, A. Romigi, V. Sofia, P. Tinuper, L. Zummo, U. AgugliaA. Gambardella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: The presence of a continuum between physiological déjà vu (DV) and epileptic DV is still not known as well as epidemiological data in the Italian population. The aim was to identify the epidemiological distribution of DV in Italy, and secondly to look for specific features of DV able to discriminate between epileptic and non-epileptic DV. Methods: In all, 1000 individuals, 543 healthy controls (C) (313 women; age 40 ± 15 years) and 457 patients with epilepsy (E) (260 women; age 39 ± 14 years), were prospectively recruited from 10 outpatient neurological clinics throughout Italy. All populations were screened using the Italian Inventory for Déjà Vu Experiences Assessment (I-IDEA) test and E and pairwise C underwent a comprehensive epilepsy interview. Results: Of E, 69% stated that they experienced ‘recognition’ and 13.2% reported that this feeling occurred from a few times a month to at least weekly (versus 7.7% of the control group). Furthermore, a greater percentage of E (6.8% vs. 2.2%) reported that from a few times a month to at least weekly they felt that it seemed as though everything around was not real. In E, the feeling of recognition raised fright (22.3% vs. 13.2%) and a sense of oppression (19.4% vs. 9.4%). A fifth of E felt recognition during epileptic seizures. Conclusion: Only E regardless of aetiology firmly answered that they had the feeling of recognition during an epileptic seizure; thus question 14 of the I-IDEA test part 2 discriminated E from C. Paranormal activity, remembering dreams and travel frequency were mostly correlated to DV in E suggesting that the visual–memory network might be involved in epileptic DV.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • epilepsy
  • epileptic déjà vu
  • physiological déjà vu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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