The evolution of epilepsy theory and practice at the National Hospital for the Relief and Cure of Epilepsy, Queen Square between 1860 and 1910.Epilepsy Behav. 2014 Feb; 31:228-42.EB
In the years between 1860 and 1910, a revolution in epilepsy theory and practice occurred. The National Hospital for the Relief and Cure of the Paralysed and the Epileptic at Queen Square in London was at the center of this revolution. A series of remarkable physicians and surgeons were appointed to the staff. The four greatest were John Hughlings Jackson, Sir David Ferrier, Sir Victor Horsley, and Sir William Gowers. Their lasting contribution to epilepsy is discussed. Other physicians who made notable contributions to epilepsy were Jabez Spence Ramskill, Charles Eduard Brown-Séquard, Charles Bland Radcliffe, Sir John Russell Reynolds, Sir Edward Henry Sieveking, Walter Stacy Colman, and William Aldren Turner. At the hospital in this period, amongst the lasting contributions to epilepsy were the following: the development of a new conceptual basis of epilepsy, the development of a theory of the physiological structure of the nervous system in relation to epilepsy, the demonstration and investigation of cortical localization of epileptic activity, the establishment of the principle of focal epilepsy and the description of focal seizure types, the discovery of the first effective drug treatment for epilepsy (bromide therapy, indeed one of the first effective drug treatments in the whole of neurology), and the performance of the first surgical operation for epilepsy. This paper is based on the 2013 Gowers Memorial Lecture, delivered in May 2013.