Alien lipstick syndrome

Photo by Flickr user Foxtongue. Click for sourceI’ve just found this remarkable case study of a woman with an unpredictable form of ‘alien hand syndrome’ that was triggered when she had a seizure.

The syndrome, where you lose conscious control of one of your hands while it carries out unbidden actions, is normally associated with permanent damage to the brain, often in the frontal lobes, but this version only occurred when an epileptic seizure was in progress.

A 65-year-old right-handed Cuban woman experienced her first seizure while driving. She described an initial tonic posturing of her left foot with march throughout the leg.

This was followed by a counterclockwise truncal contortion and repetitive clonic movements of the foot, followed by her left hand viciously slapping her face, “as if it was fighting with me.”

Subsequent seizure semiology

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has been similar, although her nondominant left hand has refined its movements as to pretend it is applying lipstick.

Because of the embarrassing smearing of her preferred loud cherry-red lipstick, the patient has been forced to use more natural colors.

Link to PubMed entry for paper.

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