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December 22, 1945

The Falling Sickness: A History of Epilepsy from the Greeks to the Beginnings of Modern Neurology

JAMA. 1945;129(17):1231. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860510097030

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Abstract

A reader of medical books does not every year find in his hands a new book which opens a world of rare and ancient treasures. This joy of discovery belongs to the reader of Dr. Temkin's book on "The Falling Sickness." The art of printing rescued from moldering destruction the hand written manuscripts of medical lore. However, these and many later writings are again inaccessible because of the decay of Latin and Greek as the physician's chosen means of written communication. With painstaking labor the author has combed the literature of the ancient and medieval worlds for explanations and treatments of the weird disease of sudden falling. He has sought the opinion not only of noted physicians and university professors but also of village practitioners, charlatans, functionaries of the church and the common man. The result is not only a panorama of seizures but a view of the painful progress

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