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November 1930

The Basis of Epilepsy.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1930;46(5):900. doi:10.1001/archinte.1930.00140170161014

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The author is convinced that epilepsy is due to a disturbance of the sympathetic nervous system. The whole basis for this argument lies in the fact that spontaneously there are small white spots found on the skin of epileptic patients, which he interprets as areas of vasoconstriction. By stroking the skin with a special instrument, the white vasoconstriction line is shown to be increased in intensity in epileptic patients. This excess vasoconstriction is evidence of a sympathetic hypertonia, which is due to an imbalance of the vasomotor reflexes. This is the author's only physiologic proof. His anatomic proof consists in references to Echeverria's "Anatomical Pathologic Studies on Epileptics" of 1870, at a period when neuropathologic conceptions were in their infancy. The author attempts to diagnose incipient epilepsy by the white spots. He gives numerous case reports containing many irrelevant observations. His conclusions are, as a whole, unwarranted.

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