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September 17, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXXI(12):662-663. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02450120036006

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Epilepsy, one of the oldest diseases of the nervous system of which we have knowledge, is, as regards its etiology, and particularly its pathology, practically but little known. The names given it by the Father of Medicine, "sacred malady" and "malady of children," show in what light it was regarded by the ancients. For centuries the most ridiculous and incredible theories were advanced by the best men of their time with truly commendable zeal; but real progress can not be said to have begun previous to the statements of reflex irritation advocated by Marshall Hall. Since then decided advances have been made along many lines, due especially to the magnificent work of Hughlings-Jackson, but even to this day authorities differ greatly as to causation in a vast majority of those afflicted. Age, sex, heredity, insanity, organic brain disease, trauma, syphilis, chronic alcoholism of parents, must all be regarded as important

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