Language-Induced Epilepsy

  • Norman Geschwind
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 16)


This case, the first report of a patient with epilepsy induced by his own speech illustrates that in neurology, and in particular in the study of the higher functions, clinical observation is still an important tool. Nature carries out experiments in man that cannot be duplicated in animals and, even when we have no understanding of them, it is vital that they be recorded so that future investigators can study them. The syndrome of language-induced epilepsy remains a complete mystery, which is not explained by our current knowledge of the organization of language in the brain. It thus seems likely that it contains some clues as to some aspects of the neural organization of language of which we are as yet unaware.


Anticonvulsant Medication Clinical Seizure Effective Stimulus Unconditioned Stimulation Myoclonic Movement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alajouanine, T., Nehlil, J., and Gabersck, V., ‘A propos d’un cas d’epilepsie déclenché par la lecture’. Rev. Neurol 101 (1959) 463–467.Google Scholar
  2. Asbury, A. K. and Prensky, A. L., ‘Graphogemc Epilepsy’, Trans. Amer. Neurol. Assoc. 881 (I96S) 193–194.Google Scholar
  3. Baxter, D. W. and Bailey, A. A., ‘Primary Reading Epilepsy’, Neurology 11 (1961) 445–449.Google Scholar
  4. Bickford, R. G., ‘Sensory Precipitation of Seizures’, J. Mich. Med. Soc. 53 (1954) 1018–1020.Google Scholar
  5. Bickford, R.G. etal., ‘Reading Epilepsy’, Trans. Amer. Neurol. Assoc. 81 (1956) 100–102.Google Scholar
  6. Burns, B. D., ‘The Mechanism of After Bursts in Cerebral Cortex’, J. Physiol. 127 (1955) 168–188.Google Scholar
  7. Critchley, M., Cobb. W., and Scars. T. A., ‘On Reading Epilepsy’, Epilepsia 1 (1959–1960) 403–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Falconer, M. A., Driver, M. V., and Scrafetinides, E. A., ‘Seizures Induced by Movement: Report of a Case Relieved by Operation’, J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiat. 26 (1963) 300–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Forster, F. M. et al. ‘Modification of Musicogenic Epilepsy by Extinction Technique’, Trans. Amer. Neurol. Assoc. 90 (1965) 179.Google Scholar
  10. Gowers, W. R., Epilepsy, ( 2nd ed. ), J. A. Churchill. Ltd.. London, 1901.Google Scholar
  11. Landolt, H. and Luchsinger, R. ‘Polterspracbe, Stottern und chronische organische Psychosyndrome’, Deutsch. Med. Wschr. 79 (1954) 1012–1015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Luchsinger, R., and Arnold. G. E., Voice-Spetch-Language. Clinical Communicology: Its Physiology and Pathology, Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc., Belmont. Calif., 1966.Google Scholar
  13. Mitchell, W., Falconer. M. A., and Hill, D., ‘Epilepsy With Fetishism Relieved by Temporal Lobectomy’, Lancet 2 (1954) 626–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Roitbak, A. I., ‘Primary Responses of the Cerebral Cortex to Sound Clicks and Electrical Stimulation, of the Medial Geniculate Nucleus and Their Changes During Unconditioned Stimulation’, Proceedings of the 21st International Physiological Congress, Buenos Aires 1959, p. 234.Google Scholar
  15. Rusinov, V. S., ‘An Electrophysiological Analysts of the Connecting Function in the Cerebral Cortex in the Presence of a Dominant Region Area’, abstracted, Communications of the 19th International Physiological Congress, Montreal 1953. pp. 719–720.Google Scholar
  16. Servit. Z. (ed.) Reflex Mechanisms in the Genesis of Epilepsy, Elsevier Publishing Co., Amsterdam, 1963.Google Scholar
  17. Sherwin, L, Geschwind, N., and Abramowiez, A., ‘Language Induced Epilepsy’, Trans. Amer. Neurol. Assoc. 90 (1965) 183–188.Google Scholar
  18. Sherwin, I., ‘Seizures Precipitated by the Use of language A Review’, Cortex 2 (1966) 349–356.Google Scholar
  19. Stevens, IL, ‘Reading Epilepsy’. New Eng. J. Med. (1957) 165–170.Google Scholar
  20. Symondt, C., ‘Excitation and Inhibition in Epilepsy’, Proc. Roy. Soc. Med. 52 (1959) 395–402.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Geschwind
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolUSA

Personalised recommendations