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February 1940

VARIATIONS IN THE CARBON DIOXIDE CONTENT OF THE BLOOD IN EPILEPSY

Author Affiliations

BOSTON

From the Department of Neurology of the Harvard Medical School, and the Neurological Unit of the Boston City Hospital.

Arch NeurPsych. 1940;43(2):223-239. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1940.02280020031003
Abstract

The observation that epileptic seizures can be precipitated by overventilation was reported by Rosett,1 and also by Foerster,2 in 1924. One of us (W. G. L.),3 in 1928, demonstrated that petit mal seizures can be temporarily abolished by breathing air containing an increased concentration of carbon dioxide. In spite of the numerous reports dealing with the effects of overventilation, there has been a curious lack of discrimination in regard to the types of seizures most readily influenced. Our studies have shown that overventilation will not precipitate all types of seizures with equal facility. In fact, overventilation seems to be almost specific for petit mal, although occasionally psychomotor seizures are precipitated. In several hundred trials, a period of overventilation which regularly produces petit mal seizures never precipitated a grand mal seizure. On the other hand, in 2 cases in which there were both petit mal and grand mal

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