Document Detail

Epileptic seizures and spirit possession in Haitian culture: report of four cases and review of the literature.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20724222     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Epileptic seizures have historically been associated with religious beliefs in spirit possession. These attitudes and misconceptions about epilepsy still flourish in developing countries as byproducts of specific sociocultural environments. This article presents a case series of four Haitian patients with epilepsy whose seizures were initially attributed to Voodoo spirit possession. All patients reported ictal experiential phenomena (epigastric aura, ictal fear, depersonalization, and derealization symptoms) followed by complete loss of consciousness. Electroclinical investigations revealed a temporal lobe focus. We review the existing literature on attitudes toward seizures within the Haitian culture and discuss the link between religion and epilepsy, highlighting the possible detrimental influence of specific traditional belief systems on the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of patients with epilepsy.
A E Cavanna; S Cavanna; A Cavanna
Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article; Review     Date:  2010-08-17
Journal Detail:
Title:  Epilepsy & behavior : E&B     Volume:  19     ISSN:  1525-5069     ISO Abbreviation:  Epilepsy Behav     Publication Date:  2010 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-09-20     Completed Date:  2011-01-12     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100892858     Medline TA:  Epilepsy Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  89-91     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Epilepsy / psychology*
Middle Aged
Religion and Medicine*
Young Adult

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