When did modern investigation of the etiology of epilepsy begin?

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

Modern investigation of the etiology of epilepsy began with the work of Fritsch, Hitzig, Ferrier, and Caton in the 1870s. These researchers recorded and evoked epileptic seizures in the cerebral cortex of animals. In 1929, Berger discovered that electrical brain signals could be recorded from the human head by using scalp electrodes; this discovery led to the use of electroencephalography (EEG) to study and classify epileptic seizures.

Gibbs, Lennox, Penfield, and Jasper further advanced the understanding of epilepsy and developed the system of the 2 major classes of epileptic seizures currently used: localization-related syndromes and generalized-onset syndromes. An excellent historical review of seizures and epilepsy, written by E. Goldensohn, was published in the journal Epilepsia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the American Epilepsy Society in 1997. A decade later, another review in Epilepsia discussed the foundation of this professional society. [4]


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