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EPILEPSY Definition & Legal Meaning

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Definition & Citations:

In medical jurisprudence. A disease of the brain, which occurs in paroxysmswith uncertain intervals between them.The disease is generally organic, though it may be functional and symptomatic ofirritation in other parts of the body. The attack is characterized by loss ofconsciousness, sudden falling down, distortion of the eyes an 1 face, grinding orgnashing of the teeth, stertorous respiration, and more or less severe muscular spasmsor convulsions. Epilepsy, though a disease of the brain, is not to be regarded as a formof insanity, in the sense that a person thus afflicted can be said to be permanentlyinsane, for there may he little or no mental aberration in tile intervals between theattacks. But the paroxysm is frequently followed by a temporary insanity, varying inparticular instances from slight alienation to the most violent mania. In the latter formthe affection is known as “epileptic fury.” But this generally passes off within a fewdays. But the course of the principal disease is generally one of deterioration, the brainbeing gradually more and more deranged in its functions in the intervals of attack, andthe memory and intellectual powers in general becoming enfeebled, leading to a greatlyimpaired state of mental efficiency, or to dementia, or a condition bordering onimbecility. See Aurentz v. Anderson, 3 Pittsh. I!. (I’a.l 310; Lnwton v. Sun Mutual Ins.Co.. 2 Cush. (Mass.) 517.


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