Interesting Article for those affected by seizures and psychiatric issues


Well-Known Member
I read this on WebMD and found it fascinating:

Shadow Person Lurks in Brain

Sense of Shadowy Presence Tied to Specific Spot in Brain
By Miranda Hitti, WebMD Medical News
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
on Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sept. 20, 2006 -- Stimulating a certain spot in the brain with electricity may make people feel like a shadow person is hovering nearby.

Doctors in Switzerland documented the startling sensation in a 22-year-old woman with no history of psychiatric problems.

The researchers stumbled upon the discovery while evaluating the woman for epilepsyepilepsy surgery.

During the checkup, the doctors electrically stimulated the left temporoparietal junction in the woman's brain.

Out of the blue, the woman reported having "the impression that someone was behind her," write Shahar Arzy, MD, and colleagues in Nature. Arzy works at the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland.

'He Is Behind Me'

The woman described the shadow person as young, silent, and mirroring her position as she lay on her back. "He is behind me, almost at my body, but I do not feel it," she said, according to the doctors.

Next, the researchers stimulated the same spot in the woman's brain as she sat up with her arms wrapped around her knees.

Again, the woman sensed the shadow presence. This time she said the man was sitting behind her and had his arms around her.

Lastly, the woman sat up, holding a card in her right hand, for another brain test that involved stimulating the same brain area. She once more sensed the shadow person.

"He wants to take the card. He doesn't want me to read," the woman reportedly said.

Of course, there was no such person present during the tests. But the shadow person apparently seemed very real to the woman.

"The sensation of a presence, as reported by this patient, has been described by people with psychiatric and neurological disorders," the researchers write.

The left temporoparietal junction may play a role in those disorders, judging by the woman's experience, note Arzy and colleagues.


SOURCES: Arzy, S. Nature, September 2006; vol 443: p 287. News release, Nature.

Sara PA

New Member
This isn't just for people who are diagnosed with seizures. This finding explains how seizures in a certain part of the brain can manifest in ways that are often labeled "mental illness".

The woman has epilepsy, yes. But she wasn't having a natural seizure, she had a specific part of her brain electronically stimulated (artificial seizure) by the doctors. Theoretically, if any of us had that part of our brain stimulated (through artificial or natural seizure activity) we would have the same reaction. Someone who always had the sensations like that woman has could quite possibly have some sort of brain defect in that same part of the brain.

This is a clear example of how brain activity controls our thoughts and perceptions. We have to wonder what area of the brain is being activated and why when our children mispercieve what's going on in the world.

I did a quick check of Dr. Arzy. His work seems to be focused on where the sense of self is located in the brain.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful

Sara thanks for posting this. I just now spotted it.

This is exactly the type of hallucinations N described for years!!!! She even drew a picture of it for me to help me understand what she was seeing. When she was in the hospital last june I mentioned it to the psychiatrist there, and although she fully believed this is what N saw, she said she didn't believe it had to do with her illnesses.

Since she's been on the effexor and trileptol (much higher dose) they've disappeared.

Very very interesting stuff.

Sara PA

New Member
Effexor can lower the seizure threshhold. It's possible for someone taking Effexor (or any other drug that lowers the seizure threshold. Someone can have seizures -- including partial seizures like described -- while taking a medication that lowers the seizure threshold but not have a problem once the medication is removed.

Stella Johnson

Active Member
My difficult child has said the same thing for a couple of years now. I am going to pass this on to her neuro.

Thanks for sharing!