Neurosurgeon Questions Gelastic seizure

What causes gelastic seizures in a person?

My neighbor suffers from gelastic seizures, and I really haven't noticed this until the other day. I know it's a very rare type of seizure, however. What usually causes someone to have them? And how are they usually treated?

3 Answers

Hypothalamic tumors are commonly seen with gelastic seizures, but there are other causes as well. The treatment involves medications and surgery and usually depends on the type of seizures and the cause of them.
These seizures emanate from deep within the brain. They can be caused by a tumor, usually benign, but can also occur without evidence of a tumor. An MRI scan will let you know if there is a tumor or not. If there is a tumor, surgery to remove it, or Gamma Knife treatment, or "LIT" therapy can be used to treat it. LIT is laser light treatment used through a fiber inserted into the tumor that heats the tissue to kill it.
Gelastic seizures are epileptic events which are typically characterized by sudden and involuntary bursts of energy usually in the form of laughing, coughing, barking or crying. It is preceded by an aura of deja vu type of feelings. It is followed by focal onset seizure. It is associated with the presence of hypothalamic hemartoma. It is characteristically refractory to medical treatments. Currently the best recognized treatment is ablation of hypothalamic hematoma.