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May 5, 1945

NOMENCLATURE OF EPILEPSY

JAMA. 1945;128(1):52. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860180054021

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  A question in Queries and Minor Notes leads me to offer the following points:The primary manifestations of epilepsy are grand mal, petit mal and psychomotor. These may occur alone or in combination. If the possible combinations are named, four additional diagnoses would be required: grand and petit mal, grand mal and psychomotor, petit mal and psychomotor, and finally grand mal, petit mal and psychomotor. An alternate term for psychomotor is psychic equivalent, which is objectionable because of the implication that this form of seizure is not epilepsy but something like it. The same objection applies to the use of pyknolepsy as an alternate for petit mal. Like narcolepsy and catalepsy, the term pyknolepsy connotes something distinct from epilepsy. This objection is met by using the word pykno epilepsy which also appears in medical dictionaries.To many physicians and neurologists petit mal means a small or mild

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