Hyperfamiliarity for faces

O. Devinsky, L. Davachi, C. Santchi, B. T. Quinn, B. P. Staresina, T. Thesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To report 4 cases of hyperfamiliarity for faces (HFF) and review 5 previously reported cases. Methods: We identified cases of HFF from PubMed search and references in prior reports. Results: Three of our 4 cases had pathologic findings that were most extensive in the left temporal lobe. HFF occurred after a tonic-clonic seizure (cases 1 and 3), during simple partial seizures (case 2), and in the setting of an increase in simple partial seizure frequency but not during seizures (case 4). All 9 cases were adults with 1 or more seizures; symptoms first occurred after seizures in 5 cases and during seizures in 1 case. Ictal symptoms lasted from seconds to minutes and from 2 days to more than 7 years in the other 6 cases. The duration of HFF was not associated with the presence or extent of a structural lesion. While in several cases HFF appears to result from a postictal Todd paralysis, the mechanism underlying persistent cases is uncertain. Conclusions: This modality (visual)-specific and stimulus (face)-specific syndrome is associated with diverse structural, functional imaging, and neurophysiologic findings. Lesions are more often left-sided and involve the temporal lobe. Epilepsy and seizures were present in all 9 cases, suggesting a pathophysiologic relationship, which likely varies among cases. Although only reported in 9 patients, HFF is probably much more common than it is diagnosed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-974
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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