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January 27, 1951


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

From the Department of Neurology, Jefferson Medical College and Georgetown University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1951;145(4):211-215. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920220019004

Psychomotor seizures are epileptic manifestations occurring either alone or in combination with other types of seizures. The attacks are characterized by motor and/or psychic activity which is purposeful but irrelevant for the time and place, and the patient is amnesic afterward for the events that transpired during the seizure. There are no convulsive movements of either tonic or clonic nature during psychomotor seizures. Synonyms for the term psychomotor seizures are epileptic equivalents and epileptic fugue states.

Psychomotor seizures occur in late childhood or adult life; they have a frequency approximating that of major convulsions, and the individual attack lasts from one to five or more minutes. On the basis of these clinical facts the differentiation from petit mal epilepsy is not difficult. The activity of the patient during psychomotor seizures is quite distinct. The following examples drawn from the clinical material in this report illustrate the types of activity.