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      Visual Hallucinations in a Patient with Horner's Syndrome Secondary to Internal Carotid Dissection

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          A 67-year-old female presented with post-ganglionic Horner's syndrome. In addition to the classical symptoms of Horner's syndrome, the patient reported experiencing frightening complex visual and auditory hallucinations on two different occasions. Magnetic resonance angiography of the cerebrum, neck and upper thorax revealed internal carotid dissection. The symptoms and hallucinatory experiences resolved soon after antiplatelet therapy was commenced. We propose peduncular hallucinosis as the underlying mechanism.

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          Complex visual hallucinations. Clinical and neurobiological insights.

          Complex visual hallucinations may affect some normal individuals on going to sleep and are also seen in pathological states, often in association with a sleep disturbance. The content of these hallucinations is striking and relatively stereotyped, often involving animals and human figures in bright colours and dramatic settings. Conditions causing these hallucinations include narcolepsy-cataplexy syndrome, peduncular hallucinosis, treated idiopathic Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia without treatment, migraine coma, Charles Bonnet syndrome (visual hallucinations of the blind), schizophrenia, hallucinogen-induced states and epilepsy. We describe cases of hallucinosis due to several of these causes and expand on previous hypotheses to suggest three mechanisms underlying complex visual hallucinations. (i) Epileptic hallucinations are probably due to a direct irritative process acting on cortical centres integrating complex visual information. (ii) Visual pathway lesions cause defective visual input and may result in hallucinations from defective visual processing or an abnormal cortical release phenomenon. (iii) Brainstem lesions appear to affect ascending cholinergic and serotonergic pathways, and may also be implicated in Parkinson's disease. These brainstem abnormalities are often associated with disturbances of sleep. We discuss how these lesions, outside the primary visual system, may cause defective modulation of thalamocortical relationships leading to a release phenomenon. We suggest that perturbation of a distributed matrix may explain the production of similar, complex mental phenomena by relatively blunt insults at disparate sites.
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            Hyperperfusion in the lateral temporal cortex, the striatum and the thalamus during complex visual hallucinations: single photon emission computed tomography findings in patients with Charles Bonnet syndrome.

            We report the findings of single photon emission computed tomography using 123I-IMP and magnetic resonance image studies of five patients with Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) while they were having visual hallucinations. All patients developed complex visual hallucinations after suffering from eye disease. The mean age at onset of CBS was 71.6 years. Single photon emission computed tomography studies in all patients disclosed hyperperfusion areas with some asymmetrical appearances in the lateral temporal cortex, striatum and thalamus. These results suggest that when elderly people suffer from eye disease, subsequent excessive cortical compensation in the lateral temporal cortex, striatum and thalamus may precipitate the development of visual hallucinations.
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              Complex Visual Hallucinations in the Visually Impaired


                Author and article information

                Case Reports in Ophthalmology
                S. Karger AG
                September – December 2014
                31 October 2014
                : 5
                : 3
                : 347-351
                Clinical Eye Research Unit, Department of Ophthalmology, Copenhagen University Hospital Roskilde, Roskilde, Denmark
                Author notes
                *Amardeep Singh, Department of Ophthalmology, Copenhagen University Hospital Roskilde, Køgevej 7-13, DK-4000 Roskilde (Denmark), E-Mail a.singh.opht@gmail.com
                368332 PMC4249999 Case Rep Ophthalmol 2014;5:347-351
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Open Access License: This is an Open Access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC) ( http://www.karger.com/OA-license), applicable to the online version of the article only. Distribution permitted for non-commercial purposes only. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Pages: 5
                Published: October 2014


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