Seizure historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Shakiba Hassanzadeh, MD[2]


The term 'seizure' is derived from a Greek word that means 'to take hold'. Epilepsy was first described by Hippocrates in Ancient Greece (460–377 B.C.). Until the 18th century, epilepsy was considered an idiopathic disease originating in the brain. The foundation of the modern knowledge of epilepsy was through the work of William Cullen and Samuel A. In the 20th century, rapid development in medical imaging occurred with development in brain CT, brain MRI, and PET scan.

Historical Perspective

For more information about the historical perspective of epilepsy, click here.


  1. Patel P, Moshé SL (2020). "The evolution of the concepts of seizures and epilepsy: What's in a name?". Epilepsia Open. 5 (1): 22–35. doi:10.1002/epi4.12375. PMC 7049807 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 32140641 Check |pmid= value (help).
  2. Wilson JV, Reynolds EH (1990). "Texts and documents. Translation and analysis of a cuneiform text forming part of a Babylonian treatise on epilepsy". Med Hist. 34 (2): 185–98. doi:10.1017/s0025727300050651. PMC 1036070. PMID 2187129.
  3. WILSON JA (1962). "Medicine in ancient Egypt". Bull Hist Med. 36: 114–23. PMID 14007361.
  4. Gorji A, Khaleghi Ghadiri M (2001). "History of epilepsy in Medieval Iranian medicine". Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 25 (5): 455–61. doi:10.1016/s0149-7634(01)00025-2. PMID 11566482.
  5. Lai CW, Lai YH (1991). "History of epilepsy in Chinese traditional medicine". Epilepsia. 32 (3): 299–302. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1991.tb04655.x. PMID 2044493.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Panteliadis CP, Vassilyadi P, Fehlert J, Hagel C (2017). "Historical documents on epilepsy: From antiquity through the 20th century". Brain Dev. 39 (6): 457–463. doi:10.1016/j.braindev.2017.02.002. PMID 28249737.
  7. Friedland GW, Thurber BD (1996). "The birth of CT". AJR Am J Roentgenol. 167 (6): 1365–70. doi:10.2214/ajr.167.6.8956560. PMID 8956560.