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February 1983

Isolated Transient Alexia: A Migrainous Accompaniment

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, St Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(2):115-116. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04050020077018

Alexia as a transient or paroxysmal neurologic event is a rare clinical finding. John Hughlings Jackson made reference to the paroxysmal occurrence of "word blindness" as a temporary sequela of neuronal exhaustion at an epileptogenic focus.1 Several cases of paroxysmal alexia associated with epilepsy have been reported in the literature.2,3 A transient episode of alexia in the absence of accompanying neurologic deficit is exceedingly rare. Francis,4 in 1943, reported such a case that appeared as a manifestation of decompression sickness. We recently observed a patient who experienced an isolated, transient alexia that appears to have been a migrainous accompaniment.

See also p 114. 

REPORT OF A CASE  A right-handed 60-year-old woman had enjoyed excellent general health, except for severe headaches in adolescence. These occurred frequently in her teens and early 20s, and were severe and throbbing, often being centered in the retro-orbital region or as a