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February 1968

Positive Spikes, Spike-Wave Phantoms, and Psychomotor VariantsA Survey of These EEG Patterns in Psychiatric Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(2):232-238. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740020104013

THERE are a number of morphologically distinct electroencephalographic signals which can be readily identified under appropriate recording conditions but which lack known pathologic significance. Among such patterns are so-called 14- and/or 6-per-second positive spikes, 6-per-second spike-wave paroxysms, also known as phantom spikewaves, and psychomotor variant discharges. These waveforms attract the attention of the electroencephalographer and warrant mention in his report, but their clinical interpretation is uncertain. Even though there is a fairly extensive literature on this subject, it has still not been established whether or not these EEG patterns are of specific clinical importance. However, a number of investigators from different settings have noticed that each of these signals may be associated with questionable epileptic phenomena, autonomic or vegetative dysfunctions, and various kinds of emotional and behavior disorders.1-4

Such observations suggest that the EEG signals in question may have meaning in relation to functional mental disorders and neurophysiological disturbances.

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