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March 1960

All Epilepsy Is One

Author Affiliations

Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurology and Neurological Surgery, University of Illinois College of Medicine, and Attending Neurologist, Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital.

AMA Arch Neurol. 1960;2(3):237-246. doi:10.1001/archneur.1960.03840090001001

It was one of the most fruitful suggestions of Hughlings Jackson1 that there are many epilepsies, each corresponding to a different discharging focus. Through his shrewd observations and analyses, the classification of clinical seizures into grand and petit mal was enlarged by the addition of other forms, such as focal motor and sensory seizures, "dreamy states," and so on. This emphasis upon the subdivision of the convulsive states into types, based at first on clinical features, was greatly increased by the introduction of clinical electroencephalography and by the attempt to define varieties of epilepsy in electrographic terms. In the meantime it was, of course, discovered that a great variety of "causes" seemed responsible for epileptic attacks, and a tendency grew to think of such separate "causes" as inducing separate epilepsies, e.g., genetic. There followed a vast search for all sorts of epileptogenic factors, and an intensive study of pathologic

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