What role did Hippocrates have in the history of epilepsy?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Hippocrates wrote the first book about epilepsy almost 2500 years ago. He rejected ideas regarding the divine etiology of epilepsy and concluded that the cause was excessive phlegm leading to abnormal brain consistency. Hippocratic teachings were forgotten, and divine etiologies again dominated beliefs about epileptic seizures during medieval times.

Even at the turn of the 19th century, excessive masturbation was considered a cause of epilepsy. This hypothesis is credited as leading to the use of the first effective anticonvulsant (ie, bromides).


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