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January 1953

EPILEPSIA CURSIVA: Syndrome of Running Fits

Author Affiliations


From the Sections of Neurology and Electroencephalography, University of Louisville School of Medicine, and the Louisville General Hospital.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1953;69(1):73-79. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1953.02320250079008

ALTHOUGH the term epilepsia cursiva may be found in medical dictionaries, it is rarely mentioned in textbooks or in the medical literature. Running fits in dogs, caused by a diet of agenized flour (flour treated with nitrogen trichloride [agene®]) have been thoroughly studied by Mellanby,1 Silver and associates,2 and others.3 Similar diets do not produce epileptic manifestations in man. Perusal of the literature reveals no previous psychiatric or electroencephalographic study of a group of patients with this type of epilepsy.

We have defined a running fit as an episodic alteration of awareness associated with running. Consciousness may be clouded to a variable degree. The activity may be coordinated but is inappropriate to the reality situation. A running fit is thus a type of automatism, and the syndrome is included in the ill-defined group of psychomotor epilepsies.

Nine cases have been studied intensively. In each instance the patient

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