Religious experiences have long been documented in patients with epilepsy, though their exact underlying neural mechanisms are still unclear. Here, we had the rare opportunity to record a delusional religious conversion in real time in a patient with right temporal lobe epilepsy undergoing continuous video-EEG. In this patient, a messianic revelation experience occurred several hours after a complex partial seizure of temporal origin, compatible with postictal psychosis (PIP). We analyzed the recorded resting-state EEG epochs separately for each of the conventional frequency bands. Topographical analysis of the bandpass filtered EEG epochs revealed increased activity in the low-gamma range (30-40 Hz) during religious conversion compared with activity during the patient's habitual state. The brain generator underlying this activity was localized to the left prefrontal cortex. This suggests that religious conversion in PIP is related to control mechanisms in the prefrontal lobe-related processes rather than medial temporal lobe-related processes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Mor Nitzan (Hebrew University) for helpful comments on the manuscript; Dr Dana Ekstein and Dr Renana Eitan for continuous clinical and scientific collaboration, and Mrs Orit Gerbi and the EEG team. This study was supported by the Israeli National Science Foundation and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Israel ( 3-10789 ).
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.
- Postictal psychosis