The End of Epilepsy?A history of the modern era of epilepsy research 1860-2010

The End of Epilepsy?A history of the modern era of epilepsy research 1860-2010

Dieter Schmidt and Simon Shorvon

Print publication date: Aug 2016

ISBN: 9780198725909

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

Epilepsy is a common disease of the brain, occurring in roughly 1% of all people, and although repeated epileptic seizures are its clinical hallmark, epilepsy is not just a medical phenomenon, but a social construct, with cultural, political, and financial consequences. People with epilepsy are exposed to stigma and burdened with disadvantages which can be far reaching. There are indeed many remedies, but no cure. This book provides a biography of modern epilepsy in the form of a brief and selective narrative of some of the important developments in medical and social epilepsy research, with its many ups and downs, over the period since 1860. Its anatomy of modern epilepsy in eight chapters is, inevitably in this short book, selective, and intentionally provocative. The book’s main objective is to provide both a survey of the evolution of epilepsy and its treatment in the post-Jacksonian era, and also a critical look at where we are today and how we got there. This book tries to make an effort to separate the wheat from the chaff in the development of better epilepsy care. Good and bad events and concepts of historic consequence are discussed. It is acknowledged that, although the end of epilepsy is in reach of some, there is at present no prescribed scientific path to the end of epilepsy for others. Regardless of the severity of epilepsy, patients, with the support of their physicians and modern medicine, must create their own solutions to the multiple issues they face.