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Masia SL; Devinsky O
"Epilepsy and Behavior: A Brief History"
Epilepsy & behavior 2000 Feb; 1(1):27-36
Behavioral changes-both real and imagined-have formed a halo around epilepsy since antiquity. The myth of epilepsy as a curse has been largely vanquished in modern cultures, but the disorder remains a social stigma for many patients. In ancient Rome people with epilepsy were avoided for fear of contagion, in the Middle Ages they were hunted as witches, and in the first half of our century they were labeled deviants and their marriage and reproduction were restricted by eugenistic medical doctors. Religious conversion experiences can occur in temporal relationship to changes in seizure frequency. Many religious leaders may have had epilepsy. However, changes in religious sentiment are not characteristic of epilepsy patients. Recognized since the late 19th century, postictal psychosis has stimulated theories regarding the mechanism of mania and psychosis. Understanding the pathophysiology of behavioral changes in epilepsy may offer insight into the psychopathology of other diseases

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