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, 108 (2), 132-9

[Kumagusu Minakata With Temporal Lobe Epilepsy: A Pathographic Study]

[Article in Japanese]
Affiliations
  • PMID: 16562514

[Kumagusu Minakata With Temporal Lobe Epilepsy: A Pathographic Study]

[Article in Japanese]
Akira Sengoku. Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi.

Abstract

Kumagusu Minakata (1867-1941), a Japanese genius devoted to natural history and folklore, is famous for his immense range of works (including 50 monographs in 'Nature') and his discovery of several varieties of mycetozoa. His diary and the observations of other persons reveal that he was affected by several grand mal epileptic seizures, and he complained himself of frequent déjà vu experiences which he called promnesia according to Myers. Promnesia means, for example, "I have lived through all this before, and I know what will happen this next minute." Minakata also had this rare type of aural sign. MRI analysis of his postmortem brain found evidence of right hippocampal atrophy. This result showed that he had temporal lobe epilepsy with focus of the right side, and this coincides with his déjà vu experiences which were the aura of the loss of consciousness. However, he did not notice that these were aural signs, and he also complained of memory disturbances due to frequent déjà vu. His behavioral characteristics were peculiar, and those of Dostoyevsky who also had temporal lobe epilepsy were similar. Temporal lobe epilepsies may influence behavioral patterns which control the emotions. As a positive point, some patients with temporal lobe epilepsy can exhibit their primordial mental actions and perform persistent works.

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