Magnetic resonance imaging of hypothalamic hamartomas causing gelastic epilepsy

A. F. Marliani, D. Tampieri, D. Melancon, R. Ethier, S. F. Berkovic, F. Andermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hypothalamic hamartomas may cause a peculiar epileptic syndrome characterized by seizures of laughter and precocious puberty. Four mentally handicapped patients suffering from gelastic epilepsy were referred to our institution for investigation; three of them also presented with precocious puberty. In all four cases magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a space-occupying lesion of the hypothalamus that was considered to be a hamartoma. Biopsies were not performed. Hamartomas appear isodense in plain computed tomography scans, and they do not enhance. Such lesions display an isointense signal in T1-weighted magnetic resonance images and a hyperintense signal in proton density and T2-weighted images. MRI is the procedure of choice for detecting such lesions at the base of the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-339
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Association of Radiologists Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • computed tomography
  • epilepsy
  • hamartoma
  • hypothalamus
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • precocious puberty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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    Marliani, A. F., Tampieri, D., Melancon, D., Ethier, R., Berkovic, S. F., & Andermann, F. (1991). Magnetic resonance imaging of hypothalamic hamartomas causing gelastic epilepsy. Canadian Association of Radiologists Journal, 42(5), 335-339.