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June 1988

Hughlings Jackson: A Yorkshireman's Contribution to Epilepsy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Kings College Hospital, London.

Arch Neurol. 1988;45(6):675-678. doi:10.1001/archneur.1988.00520300095027

• Hughlings Jackson (1835-1911), who was born in Yorkshire (England), was the most famous graduate of the York Medical School, which closed in 1862. In York, he received his earliest neurological influences under Laycock. Jackson's most outstanding contributions were in the field of epilepsy. His were the definitive studies of unilateral convulsions that led Charcot to introduce the term Jacksonian epilepsy. His radically new view of epilepsy in terms of discharging lesions was the first neuronal theory and the foundation stone of our modern understanding of the disorder. His theories were based on detailed clinical observation and were later confirmed by the experimental studies of Fritsch and Hitzig, and by his colleague David Ferrier. He was more concerned with the nature than with the classification of epilepsy, and he linked his concepts of the disease to his hierarchical views of nervous system function. His writings on epilepsy over 40 years are on a par with the Hippocratic writings on the Sacred Disease.

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