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February 1961

Epilepsy and Related Disorders.

Arch Neurol. 1961;4(2):230-232. doi:10.1001/archneur.1961.00450080112014

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This massive work in two volumes represents the distillation of a lifetime of labor in the field of the convulsive disorders. The authors, father and daughter, "attempt a broad portrayal of diverse manifestations, causes, consequences, and treatments. They attempt to provide historical perspective, to portray the medical and social problems of the individual patient, and to consider what yet needs to be learned and done." The first four chapters offer a general orientation, with broad philosophical considerations, a brief historical review, starting with Hippocrates and sketching theories of etiology, nature, and treatment from ancient to modern times, a discussion of the semantics of definition, and a long argument ending in the unequivocal statement that "as a brain disorder epilepsy is a disease, but as a seizure it is a symptom."

It is not easy to understand just what the authors mean on this point, and there is some inconsistency in

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