[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 11, 1908


JAMA. 1908;L(15):1175-1177. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25310410015001e

The absence of any constant anatomic lesion in idiopathic epilepsy has given rise to the toxic theory of epilepsy. According to this theory, the seizures and other manifestations of this disease are due to the formation and periodic accumulation of poisonous products of metabolism.

This theory gains plausibility from the well-known fact that there are many substances which, if introduced into the circulation of an animal either by ingestion through the alimentary tract or by hypodermic injection, can cause epileptiform seizures, and that some of these substances are analogous or even identical in composition with some of the products which are constantly formed in the animal organism in the course of normal metabolic changes.

Further corroboration of this theory is found in the fact that disorders of the excretory organs, especially of the kidneys, such as bring about a retention of excretory substances, frequently give rise to epileptiform convulsions. Finally,