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October 6, 1923


JAMA. 1923;81(14):1208-1209. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02650140052021

The predominatingly toxic nature of the causes of symptomatic and experimental epilepsy leads naturally to the suspicion that some toxic substance is responsible for the fits of idiopathic or essential epilepsy. The intestine is one possible site for the origin of such toxins; it is conceivable that they could arise from faults in digestion, from fermentation produced by bacterial growth, or in other ways. The hypothesis that they arise by fermentation has led to measures directed toward changing the flora of the intestinal tract, sometimes by heroic means, but so far without lasting therapeutic success. Efforts to control epilepsy by dietary regulation have for years been attempted, and heretofore have been largely empiric. It is a common custom to limit the consumption of meat by epileptics on the assumption that excessive protein and particularly excess of purins favor the occurrence of "fits." Within the last two years, prolonged abstinence from