Epilepsy timeline


First Epilepsy book

400 B.C.

The greek physician Hippocrates writes the first book on epilepsy, titled On the Sacred Disease

Jesus Crist

70 A.D.

In the gospel according to Mark ():14-29), Jesus Christ casts out a devil from a young man with epilepsy

A handbook on witch-hunting


A handbook on witch-hunting, Malleus Maleficarum, brings a wave of persecution and torture, leading to the death of more than 200,000 women.

The modern medical era of epilepsy begins

1859 - 1906

Under the leadership of three English neurologists - J. Hughlings Jackson, R. Reynolds, and Sir W. R. Gowers - the modern medical era of epilepsy begins. In a study, Jackson defines a seizure as "an occasional, an excessive, and a disorderly discharge of nerve tissue on muscles."

The term "epileptologist"


The term "epileptologist" was first used to describe a person who specializes in epilepsy.

Discovery of EEG


A German psychiatrist named Hans Berger announced to the world that it was possible to record electric currents generated on the brain. Berger named it as the electroencephalogram (EEG).

The Epilepsy Foundation


The Epilepsy Foundation of America is founded, the only such organization wholly dedicated to the welfare of people with epilepsy. It is now known as the Epilepsy Foundation.

Establishing epilepsy centers


The Veterans Administration spearheads a movement toward establishing epilepsy centers, launching a new breed of neurologists who began to specialize in the treatment and research of epilepsy.

Laws forbidding people with epilepsy to marry or become parents


Even in the twentieth century, some U.S. states had laws forbidding people with epilepsy to marry or become parents, and some states permitted sterilization.

A landmark conference "Curing Epilepsy: The Promise and the Challenge"


A landmark conference, "Curing Epilepsy: The Promise and the Challenge," organized by the Epilepsy Foundation of America, sets bold goals for tomorrow's treatment including prevention and cure of epilepsy; no seizures or side effects for those with the condition; and finding ways to prevent epilepsy acquired from injury, infection, or errors of development.


Phenobarbital (under name of Luminal)


Two independent teams of chemists created phenobarbital under the name of Luminal. Phenobarbital is the oldest AED in common clinical use.

Phenytoin (PHT)


Discovery and clinical testing of phenytoin (PHT) by Merritt and Putnam introduced both a major new non-sedating AED and an animal model of epilepsy.

Carbamazepine (CBZ)


Carbamazepine (CBZ) was synthesized by Schindler at Geigy. Over the years, CBZ has gained acceptance as a first-line treatment for partial and tonic-clonic seizures.

Ethosuximide (ESM)


Ethosuximide (ESM) was introduced as an AED and has been the drug of choice for children with absence seizures who do not also have tonic-clonic or myoclonic seizures. ESM is also effective for atypical absence seizures.

Soduium Valproate (VPA)


Soduium Valproate (VPA) anticonvulsant property was recognized. VPA is effective over the complete range of seizures.

Felbatol (felbamate) and Neurontin (gabapentin)


Felbatol (felbamate) and Neurontin (gabapentin) are FDA approved.

Lamictal (lamotrigine)


Lamictal (lamotrigine) is FDA approved.

Topamax (topiramate)


Topamax (topiramate) is FDA approved.

Gabitril (tiagabine)


Gabitril (tiagabine) is FDA approved.

Keppra (levetiracetam)


Keppra (levetiracetam) is FDA approved.

Trileptal (oxcarbazepine) and Zonegran


Trileptal (oxcarbazepine) and Zonegran are FDA approved.


The ketogenic diet


The ketogenic diet (high in fat, low in protein, and has negligible amounts of carbohydrate) is one of the oldest forms of treatment for epilepsy.

Vagus nerve stimulation


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vagus nerve stimulation in combination with seizure medication for partial epilepsy in adults.