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December 14, 1964


JAMA. 1964;190(11):1006-1007. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070240052018

Epilepsy is best defined as sudden, excessive, disorderly electrical discharges in the gray matter of the brain. Of all the types of epileptic seizures those most intriguing to neurologists are seizures precipitated by sensory stimulation. Development and understanding of conditioning factors has placed a new and specific tool in the hands of neurological scientists which has been turned to the study of epilepsy in general and of sensory stimulation-precipitated epilepsy as a particular example.

In the December issue of the Archives of Neurology, Forster et al demonstrate that it is possible to lessen the severity of the evoked seizure discharge in photosensitive patients.1 These investigators observed that monocular stimulation failed to produce the dysrhythmia, whereas binocular stimulation readily evoked the electrical discharge, an unusual phenomenon which remains unexplained. Nevertheless, it offers an extinction technique as a means of alleviating the seizure discharges. The discharges elicited by photic stimulation could

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