The concept of so-called idiopathic epilepsy is rapidly changing. For ages, recurrent attacks of convulsions associated with unconsciousness were thought to constitute a primary disease. By degrees, as newly discovered organic causes of such seizures became definitely established and recognized, the large group of cases in which a diagnosis of "idiopathic epilepsy" would formerly have been made shrank steadily. At the present time over fifty separate conditions are recognized as "causes" of convulsions. If, in the study of a case, a cause is discovered, the convulsions are considered to be a symptom of the primary disease. A case of idiopathic epilepsy is an undiagnosed case; the term is pernicious in that it masquerades as a diagnosis. It has no more raison d'être than such terms as idiopathic fever, idiopathic hematuria or idiopathic paralysis. However, the term is still in common use and is here applied to epileptiform phenomena of undetermined
NIELSEN JM. CONVULSIONS OF UNDETERMINED ETIOLOGY: STUDIES OF THE BLOOD SUGAR. Arch NeurPsych. 1934;31(5):1055–1062. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1934.02250050173008
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