Ictal movements mimicking Islamic praying rituals: localizing value in a series of 12 patients

Epilepsy Behav. 2015 Dec;53:92-7. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.09.016. Epub 2015 Nov 2.


The aim of this study was to determine the lateralizing value of the ictal praying gesture and of ictal religious speech in patients who are candidates for epilepsy surgery. We retrospectively searched video/EEG data of 1430 patients who were evaluated at an epilepsy center from 1999 to 2014. Twelve patients were found to have demonstrated ictal praying during their complex partial seizures. Among all patients, the ictal focus was in the right temporal region. Ictal behavior simulating prayer, which includes both hands as in the Islamic ritual tradition is a rare automatism that lateralizes the ictal focus.

Keywords: Ictal automatism; Ictal praying; Ictal religious speech; Islamic praying; Praying gesture; Temporal lobe epilepsy.

MeSH terms

  • Automatism / etiology*
  • Ceremonial Behavior*
  • Compulsive Behavior
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / complications
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Religion
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Speech
  • Video Recording