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Epilepsy - from the Evening News 11 Sept 1888

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  • Epilepsy - from the Evening News 11 Sept 1888

    IS THE MURDERER A MONOMANIAC OR AN EPILEPTIC?

    Yesterday, we suggested that the police would do well to made enquiries respecting epileptics in the East-end. To-day, "A Country Doctor" writes to The Times: I would suggest that the police should at once find out the whereabouts of all cases of "homicidal mania" which may have been discharged as "cured" from the metropolitan asylums during the last two years.

    This is a new angle, I wonder how they viewed eplileptics in those days..I know from previous study, in the past they have been viewed as being possessed by the devil etc..

  • #2
    I don't think they viewed them superstitiously. In fact there were professional fit-throwers - people who would wait outside churches on Sundays and when the worshippers came out, they would fall down and "have a fit" (with the help of some soap placed between their gums and mouth to produce the froth). After one or two concerned people had tried to help, they would recover and go into their hard luck spiel, complete with forged letters from far-off vicars, "discharged soldier," "deserving case" etc.

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    • #3
      Cheeky or desperate?

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      • #4
        Cheeky probably. Doctors and suchlike professional people who'd come down in the world for one reason or another e.g. alcohol, used to charge for writing a job reference from a posh lady, or a testimonial from a vicar.

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        • #5
          Thats interesting to know, thanks for that...

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          • #6
            Although not a suspect ( yet...you never frigging know in our field...), Martha Tabram was said to be prone to fits...possibly from drink...but possibly as an outside chance from something along the lines of epilepsy.
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            • #7
              I guess that word 'fits' can have a number of definitions...

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              • #8
                Bell:

                Tabram was said to have been affected by "rum fits" ( There's an article by Bill Beadle in a WS1888 Journal from two years back which touches on this.
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                • #9
                  are they something to do with a mental condition then, or just overdosing on rum?

                  Bell:

                  'rum fits'
                  Substance abuse Generalized alcohol withdrawal-related convulsions that present as status epilepticus, seen in chronic alcoholics 12-48 hrs after a major decline in blood alcohol levels Clinical Hypocapnia and hypomagnesemia have a postulated but unproven role;1⁄3 of cases progress to delirium tremens.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Currerbell View Post
                    are they something to do with a mental condition then, or just overdosing on rum?

                    Bell:

                    'rum fits'
                    Substance abuse Generalized alcohol withdrawal-related convulsions that present as status epilepticus, seen in chronic alcoholics 12-48 hrs after a major decline in blood alcohol levels Clinical Hypocapnia and hypomagnesemia have a postulated but unproven role;1⁄3 of cases progress to delirium tremens.
                    It's a withdrawal symptom, which in fact is caused by the homeostatic regulation processes in the body. That means, the body of a chronic alcoholic adapts to the constant intake of alcohol to maintain a certain stability of body functions. That causes changes in brain chemistry and the metabolism in general.
                    When the person goes on withdrawal, the changes are still in place and can cause seizures.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the info Ultra Violet...

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