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Abstract

Hypothalamic hamartomas and gelastic seizures are often associated with cognitive deterioration, behavioral problems, and poor response to anticonvulsant treatment or cortical resections. The origin and pathophysiology of the epileptic attacks are obscure. We investigated 3 patients with this syndrome and frequent gelastic seizures. Ictal single-photon emission computed tomography performed during typical gelastic seizures demonstrated hyperperfusion in the hamartomas, hypothalamic region, and thalamus without cortical or cerebellar hyperperfusion. Electroencephalographic recordings with depth electrodes implanted in the hamartoma demonstrated focal seizure origin from the hamartoma in 1 patient. Electrical stimulation studies reproduced the typical gelastic events. Stereotactic radiofrequency lesioning of the hamartoma resulted in seizure resulted in seizure remission without complications 20 months after surgery. The functional imaging findings, electrophysiological data, and results of radiofrequency surgery indicate that epileptic seizures in this syndrome originate and propagate from the hypothalamic hamartoma and adjacent structures.