The Beginning of the End of the Falling Sickness: Epilepsy and its Treament in London 1860-1910

The Beginning of the End of the Falling Sickness: Epilepsy and its Treament in London 1860-1910

Simon Shorvon and Louise Shepherd

2012, Simon Shorvon. pp64

This volume was prepared for the 10th European Congress of Epileptology (ECE) of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) was held in London 30 September to 4 October 2012 at the ExCel Centre. It is to accompany the small historical exhibition was compiled illustrating the evolution of the study of epilepsy in London between the years 1860 and 1910.

Around 1860, considerable progress was made in the study of epilepsy, and it was from then, over a period of about 50 years, that epilepsy largely shed its skin of superstition and emerged in its modern form. London was a major centre for this transformation. It was in London that a number of physicians and surgeons changed the conceptual basis of epilepsy, the first effective drug treatment of epilepsy was discovered, the first hospital was established specifically for the treatment of epilepsy, the cortical localisation of epileptic activity was demonstrated, and the first surgical operation for epilepsy was carried out. Furthermore, through these activities epilepsy rose from being a condition of general obscurity to become the hierophant of brain disease, and a central concern of neurology, medicine and neuroscientific thought. There was of course much work in other centres, largely in Europe, and considerable traffic of ideas and people around Europe and the United States of America; but, for this short period, London remained the main focus for both clinical and theoretical advances in the field of epilepsy. This book outlines the history of the study of epilepsy in London in this period, and the text includes photographs of contemporary documents and illustrations.



1. Introduction
2. Epilepsy in London in 1860, new hospitals and early
3. Epilepsy physicians 1
4. John Hughlings Jackson (1835 – 1911)
5. Sir David Ferrier (1843 – 1928)
6. Sir William Gowers (1845 – 1915)
7. Sir Victor Horsley (1857 – 1916)
8. Epilepsy in London by 1910 1
9. Bromides and other medicinal treatments

Leave a Reply