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December 28, 1994

Exhibit Explores Link Between Art and Epilepsy

JAMA. 1994;272(24):1887-1888. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520240015005

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ELECTRICAL STORMS in the cortex, known to science as temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), sometimes bring cognitive rains that nurture art.

Perhaps it is not surprising that such a phenomenon in the part of the brain thought to be the seat of conscious awareness would have an impact on creativity. The functions of this part of the brain include vision, emotion, movement, sensation, hearing, spatial perception, and "everything else that we consciously experience day in and day out," says Steven C. Schachter, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and senior neurologist at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Mass. He is also president of the Massachusetts chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation.

The relationship between art and epilepsy, between seizure and creativity, is explored in an exhibit called "From the Storm: Artists With Temporal Lobe Epilepsy." It includes works from more than two dozen artists with TLE, painters, sculptors, poets,

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