Postictal hyperfamiliarity for unknown faces

Roberto Michelucci, Patrizia Riguzzi, Guido Rubboli, Lilia Volpi, Elena Pasini, Francesca Santoro, Stefano Meletti, Francesca Benuzzi, Francesca Pittau, Francesco Toni, Anna F. Marliani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hyperfamiliarity for unknown faces (HFUF) is a rare disorder in which unfamiliar people or faces appear familiar. Three young adults were admitted for acute symptomatic secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures (two) and psychomotor status (one). During the days following the seizures the patients continuously experienced a strong familiarity for unknown people, including other patients, visitors, and hospital staff. This disorder disappeared gradually, lasting a mean of 13. days. Brain MRI showed left amygdalohippocampal lesions, suggesting the etiology of encephalitis in two patients and multiple "active" demyelinating lesions in one patient. Interictal and ictal EEG findings showed left temporal epileptiform abnormalities. Two patients had a transitory defect of verbal memory. HFUF is a newly defined postictal symptom, more likely to arise from left temporal epileptic discharges. In our cases it was associated with acute lesions of the temporal areas, suggesting that its occurrence may also imply a structural etiology of epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-521
Number of pages4
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Acute seizures
  • Hyperfamiliarity for unknown faces
  • Left mesial temporal lesions
  • Postictal symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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