Definition of Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a syndrome characterized by disturbance in electrical activity of brain with subsequent
impairment of loss of consciousness, abnormal motor activity, psychic, sensory and autonomic nervous
History of Epilepsy
Epilepsy has a history before the birth of Lord Jesus and was known to Romans and Greeks. It is one of
the earliest known maladies. Its mention is is found the papyrus scroll dating back to 1500 BC.
Hippocrates was the first person to dispel the myth of epilepsy, as not being caused by devils & spirits.
The word of epilepsy is origin meaning attacked or seized. Its mention in the bible is proof of its
antiquity. Although it has a long history nothing much was done about its management till the
eighteenth century in the year 1857.
Sir, Charles Leacock tried a sedative that helped to reduce seizures. Taking cue from him John Hollings
Jackson, In 1870, mentioned that epilepsy arose in the cerebral cortex-the outer layer of the brain .Since
then a lot of work, both electrical impulses of the brain. In the year 1930, the development of Dilantin
was regarded as major breakthrough in understanding the syndrome of epilepsy. The surprising part is
that the drugs which we today classify as anti-epilepsy drugs (AEDs) were already in general use and the
discovery of their effect on epilepsy was only a chance.
Some of History’s well-known personalities have been sufferers of this dreaded disease. Alexander the
Great, Julius Caesar and Napoleon were a few commanders afflicted by epilepsy. Well-Known writers
like Charles discknes, Flaubert, Tchaikovsky,Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Van Gogh, the well –known painter
were victims of this ailmen, Alfred nobel, Richard burton, Martin luther king, Bryan also suffered from
A Number of world-Class Player likes Jonty Rhodes and Tony Grieg are also suffering from this disease.
In India there was hardly any literature available on epilepsy. The Myths and Stories about the disease
have made it taboo. According to some religious beliefs, Ghosts and demons are the cause of this
problem. People will go even to extremes like bringing home an exorcist to remove the spirits and in due
course the patient also starts behaving like a person who is down with effects of evil spirits.
Modern science has destroyed nearly all the myth and today we know that epilepsy has a origin like any
other disease. The cause can be traced and excellent treatment pursued.