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Neurology. 2004 Aug 10;63(3):516-9.

Ictal stuttering: a sign suggestive of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures.

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  • 1Epilepsy Center and Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratories, Swedish Neuroscience Institute, 801 Broadway #901, Seattle, WA 98122, USA.



To determine if ictal stuttering (IS) is more common among patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) than patients with epileptic seizures (ES).


The authors prospectively reviewed the medical records, EEG-video recordings, and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) scores of consecutive adults of normal intelligence diagnosed with either PNES or ES.


A total of 230 (117 PNES and 113 ES) patients were studied. PNES patients were older (p = 0.029), more likely to be female (p < 0.001), and had a shorter duration of seizure disorder (p < 0.001) than ES cases. Ten (8.5%) PNES subjects and no ES cases demonstrated IS. The proportion of patients with IS in these two groups was significantly different (p = 0.004). PNES patients with IS were of similar age as but had an even shorter (p = 0.010) duration of seizure disorder (mean = 3.0 years) than those without IS. Scores on the hypochondriasis, depression (D), and hysteria scales of the MMPI-2 were significantly higher among PNES subjects than in ES patients (p < or = 0.002). However, seven PNES patients with IS had a lower mean score on the D scale than did 98 PNES cases without stuttering (p = 0.005). This produced a more sharply defined "conversion V" appearance on the MMPI-2 graph in the stutterers.


Ictal stuttering was present in 8.5% of 117 consecutive patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, but was not observed in a consecutive series of 113 adults with epileptic seizures. Patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures with ictal stuttering had a shorter duration of seizure disorder and a more prominent conversion profile on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory than either patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures without stuttering or subjects with epileptic seizures.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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