Medicine: Aid for Epileptics

For more than 20 centuries a mass of superstitions, half-truths and prejudices have accumulated about epilepsy. Ancients thought that seizures were due to "demons," which could be released by opening up the skull; a latter-day legend insists that epileptics are "backward." * Yet some of the world's ablest men have been victims of the falling sickness: Van Gogh, Julius Caesar, Paganini, Byron, Dostoevski.

An estimated 600,000 people in the U.S. suffer from epilepsy; another 10,000,000 have a predisposition to it; and about 5,000,000 are subject to the related but socially acceptable migraine headache. The great and continuing tragedy is that epileptics, most...

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