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February 15, 1965

Epilepsy Due to Water ImmersionAn Unusual Case of Reflex Sensory Epilepsy

Author Affiliations

From the departments of pediatrics, Long Island College Hospital and Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.

JAMA. 1965;191(7):600-601. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080070084019

THE TERM "reflex" or "sensory epilepsy" is used to designate a convulsive attack precipitated by sensory stimulus. The particular sensory stimulus need not always produce the convulsive attack, but may do so only when certain environmental circumstances exist.1,2

The most frequent type of reflex epilepsy described is "photogenic epilepsy." This type has even been proved to be self-induced,3 as well as being precipitated by reading4 and watching television.5,6 Audiogenic stimuli have been implicated in "musicogenic epilepsy" in other patients,7,8 and "touch epilepsy" has been described.9

The skin and mucosa present a very wide area of distribution of sensory organs, but examples of convulsive seizures precipitated by pain, temperature, or touch are very rare. Most recorded cases have revealed the presence of a brain lesion.

The following case report of epileptic attacks induced through immersion in water is presented to place it on record as a

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