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May 1932


Author Affiliations


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

Arch NeurPsych. 1932;27(5):1245-1263. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1932.02230170261009

Before beginning any discussion it is important to define the terms to be used, and it is especially important, as in this case, when there is lack of unanimity concerning the meaning of the principal term. "Epilepsy" is here considered as meaning the sudden and repeated appearance of seizures of which convulsive movements or loss of consciousness, or both, are the principal elements.

Thus, attacks of the "grand mal" type and of the "petit mal" type are looked on as similar, differing only in degree. And the seizure itself is considered as a symptom entirely analogous to such a symptom as headache. In searching for its cause, therefore, one looks for a simpler mechanism than in looking for the etiology of a disease, or of a syndrome, for the seizure must be due to a phenomenon that may occur in many pathologic states. If a list is prepared of the