Advertisement

Sleep Medicine pp 149-157 | Cite as

Encephalitis Lethargica

  • David ParkesEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The rich dictionary vocabulary of states of arousal, vigilance and tiredness lacks clear parallel in sleep–wake physiology. Von Economo gave the name encephalitis lethargica to a multifaceted illness that spread worldwide between 1917 and 1927. However, lethargy is difficult to define, with undertones of disinclination as well as sleepiness, and a main feature of the acute illness was ocular palsy and later, Parkinsonism rather than definite sleep–wake disturbance. The illness rarely ever leads to true hypersomnia, the narcoleptic syndrome, any primary circadian disturbance or insomnia. Despite this, encephalitis lethargica still poses important questions about the relationship between body and mind, the robotic or free heritage of men and women and the interaction between brain and environment that is central to sleep–wake medicine.

Keywords

Lethargy Pseudosomnolence Eye movement Dreaming Parkinsonism Sleep–wake terminology 

References

  1. 1.
    von Economo C. Encephalitis lethargica its sequelae and treatment. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1931 (Newman K O trans. p. 200. The monograph EpidemicEncephalitis, by the Sheffield professor of medicine, Arthur J Hall, 1924, Wright, Bristol, pp. 229, gives 2056 references: Vilensky [2011], suggests over 9000 articles on the topic).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tilney F, Shattuck HL. Epidemic encephalitis. New York: Hoeber; 1920. p. 251.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Spillman R. His Wife and Prof J von Wagner- Jauregg. Trans. Spillman R. Baron Constantin von Economo. His life and work. Burlington: Free Press Interstate Printing Corp; 1937. p. 126Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    van Bogaert L, Théodoridès J, von Economo C. The man and scientist. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften; 1979; p. 138.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Vilensky JA. (Ed.) Encephalitis lethargica. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2011. pp. 316.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Vilensky JA, Gilman S. Introduction. In: Vilensky Joel, editor. Encephalitis lethargica. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2011. p. 3–7.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    von Economo C. Encephalitis lethargica its sequelae and treatment. Trans. Newman KO. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1931. pp. 201.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Howard RS, Lees AJ. Encephalitis lethargica: a report of four recent cases. Brain. 1987;110:19–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Critchley M. The divine banquet of the brain. New York: Raven; 1979. pp. 267.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kinnear Wilson SAK. Modern problems in neurology. New York: William Wood and Co; 1929. pp. 364.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Macfarlane AW. Insomnia and its therapeutics. London: HK Lewis; 1890. pp. 366.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Longuet R. La Nona. Sem Méd. 1892;1:275–8.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Winterbottom TM. An account of the native Africans in the neighbourhood of Sierra Leone: to which is added, an account of the present state of medicine among them. London: Hatchard and Morman; 1803. pp. 8.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gélineau JBE. De la Narcolepsie. Tessier et Tessier. Paris: Imprimerie de Sargeres; 1881.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    von Economo C. Encephalitis lethargica. Wien klin Woch. 1917a;30:581–5.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    von Economo C. Neue Beitrage zur Encephalitis lethargica. Neurol Cent. 1917b;5:866–78.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Vilensky JA, Gilman S. Epidemic encephalitis during the epidemic period. In: Vilenski JA, editor. Encephalitis lethargica. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2011. p. 8–38.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cruchet R. L’Encephalite épidemique. Paris: Doin and Co; 1929. pp. 135.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rail D, Scholz C, Swash M. Post-encephalitic Parkinsonism: current experience. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiat. 1981;44:670–6.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    The Daily Telegraph. Saturday November 19. 2011. p. 17.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Henneberg R. Über genuine Narcolepsie. Neurol Zbl. 1916,30:282–90.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lowenfeld L. Über Narcolepsie. Munch Med Wochenschr. 1902;49:1041–5.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bassetti CL. Narcolepsy. In: A Culebras, editor. Sleep disorders and neurological diseases. New York: Informa Healthcare; 2007. pp. 83–116.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Adie WJ. Idiopathic narcolepsy: a disease sui generis, with remarks on the mechanisms of sleep. Brain. 1926;49:257–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Symonds CP. Narcolepsy as a symptom of encephalitis lethargica. Lancet. 1926;ii:1214–5.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Schmidt R. Storung des myostatischen Gleichgewichtes der Zunge nach Encephalitis epidemica. Med Klin Berl Wien. 1921;17:210.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Cruchet RR. Séquelle du type myorhythmique chez un enfant atteint d’encéphalomyélite epidemique. J Med Bordeaux. 1921;51:230.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Critchley AM. Ocular manifestations following encephalitis lethargica. Bristol Med-Chir J. 1928;45:113–24.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Stern F. Die Epidemische Encephalitis. Berlin: Julius Springer; 1928. pp. 541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Aarsland D, Larsen JP, et al. Prevalence and clinical correlates of psychotic symptoms in Parkinson disease: a community based study. Arch Neurol. 1999;56:595–601.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Auden GA. Behaviour changes supervening upon encephalitis in children. Lancet. 1922;ii:901.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Macphail HD. Mental disorder resulting from encephalitis. J Ment Sci. 1922;68:169.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Fairweather DS. Psychiatric aspects of the post-encephalitic syndrome. J Ment Sci. 1947;93:201–54.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Gayet M. Affection encéphalique localisée aux étages supérieurs des pédoncles cérébraux et aux couches optiques. Arch Physiol. 1875;7:341–51.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    von Economo C. Sleep as a problem of localization. J Nerv Ment Dis. 1930;71:249–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Anderson L, Vilenski J, Duvoisin R. Neuropathology of acute phase encephalitis lethargica: a review of cases from the epidemic period. Neuropathol Appl Biol. 2009;35:462–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Carrera E, Bogousslavsky J. The thalamus and behaviour: effects of anatomically distinct strokes. Neurology. 2006;66:1817–23.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Caplan LR. Top of the Basilar syndrome. Neurology. 1980;30: 72–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical NeurologyThe Maudsley Hospital and King’s College HospitalLondonUK

Personalised recommendations