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Books, Journals, New Media
March 17, 1999

John Hughlings Jackson: John Hughlings Jackson: Father of English Neurology

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 1999;281(11):1045. doi:10.1001/jama.281.11.1045-JBK0317-4-1

John Hughlings Jackson is considered the "father of English neurology," or so he is termed by Macdonald and Eileen Critchley, who have provided us a definitive biography. Jackson (1835-1911) made a number of important discoveries that remain viable to this day.

What is most remarkable about Jackson's work is that it was all based on precise clinical observations, careful recording of those observations, and astute judgments, made without the benefit of today's brain imaging. Most neurologists revere Jackson for his work on localized convulsive seizures, known widely by the term "Jacksonian epilepsy." He not only published on the motor aspects of such seizures, but also described multiple other signs and symptoms. He was the first to use and recognize "uncinate attacks." He also described disorders of mentalism and complex emotional disturbances that may accompany the episodes. Interestingly, he did not use the French term "déjà vu" to describe these brief epileptic events.