Literature Review

Distinct Hand Gestures Linked to Different Seizure Types

Index-finger pointing, fisting, and fanning were associated with epileptic seizures.


Patients experiencing different types of seizures tend to present with distinct hand gestures during the attacks, according to a recent retrospective analysis published in Neurology. To reach that conclusion, researchers analyzed videotaped hand postures in patients with genetic generalized epilepsy, localization-related epilepsy, and non-epileptic attacks. They found that 96% of patients with localized epilepsy presented with index-finger pointing while 91.3% of patients with genetic generalized epilepsy presented with hand fanning, which only occurred at the onset of the seizures. The investigators also discovered that making a fist, fanning and index-finger pointing was more common among patients who were having epileptic seizures, when compared to those who were having non-epileptic attacks (74% vs 32%).

Siegel J, Tatum, WO. Hand postures in primary and secondary generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Neurology. 2016; Published online Sept 24.

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