Facing the epileptic mind — Notes of B. Kubišta's epileptic woman of 1911

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<ul><li><p>Abstracts from the 2nd International Congress on Epilepsy, Brain and Mind,Prague, March 2012</p><p>Invited Lectures</p><p>Epilepsy, Art and History</p><p>Epilepsy: A way from Herodotus to Hippocrates</p><p>S.J. Baloyannis, Aristotelian University, Thessaloniki, Greece</p><p>The term Epilepsy is derived from a Greek verb epilambanein(), meaning to seize, take hold of, or attack. Epilepsytherefore means a condition of getting over, seized, or attacked.People in Homeric Era used to believe that Epilepsy was induced bygods, and it is therefore a sacred disease. In Homeric times, medicineand religion gradually were established in the temples of Aesculapius,which became centres of faith healing. Alcmaeon of Croton (6th B.C.)was the first of the Greek physicians to ascertain that the brain is theorgan of hegemonicon (), the source of mental faculties,and that epilepsy is a brain's disease. Democritus of Abdera (5th B.C.)wrote a book on epilepsy ( ) insisting that the brainis the centre of the soul and cognition is a capacity of the brain.Herodotus, the Father of History, used to travel during his lifetime,describing the different people and cultures he met. He worked formany years on his History, which was the first true history of theancient world. In the third book (Thalia) of his nine-volume History,Herodotus described in many details the epileptic phenomena of thePersian King Cambysis the II, son of Cyrus, who suffered from theSacred illness and behaved as a mentally ill tyrannical despot withmuch cruelty and impiety. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine andthe predominant physician of the Greek classical period (480323BC), believed that diseases are derived from nature as opposed tofrom the gods. For Hippocrates, Nature was the teacher of allteachers. Hippocrates dissociated facts from myths, histories fromtales, healing art from philosophy. The attitude of Hippocratestowards his patients was dictated by human concepts and by theethical principle benefit and do no harm to the patient. Hippocratesdenied that epilepsy is a sacred disease, stating that he did notbelieve that the sacred disease is any more divine or sacred than anyother disease but, on the contrary, just as other diseases have a naturefrom which they arise, so epilepsy has a nature and a definite cause.Thus, this so-called sacred disease is due to the same causes as allother diseases, each disease having its own nature. In all forms ofepilepsy, it is the brain which suffers. There are signs of the onset of aseizure, which only the patient is aware of: the aura. Men believe onlythat it is a divine disease because of their ignorance and amazement.The physician should understand and distinguish the real cause ofepileptic phenomena in order to treat the patients properly andefficiently. Hippocrates, by stating that epilepsy was a brain's disease</p><p>and not a sacred one, made one of the most important and originalcontributions to the history of medicine. Associating the real medicalknowledge with ethics, Hippocrates shaped the very existence of thescientific and humanistic profile of Medicine.</p><p>doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.04.003</p><p>Facing the epileptic mind Notes of B. Kubita's epileptic womanof 1911</p><p>L. Kelner, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic</p><p>Bohumil Kubita's painting Epileptic woman amounts to extra-ordinary artistic achievement. Its greatness appears to stem from themultiplicity of insights into the mental state of depicted personwhichit simultaneously offers, as well as from its ability to stimulatemultiple modes of beholder's engagement. It thus speaks directly tothe major theoretical issue of how mental states can be encoded invisual images and how they can be inferred by their viewers.</p><p>doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.04.004</p><p>The epileptic seizure and the mythology of deathin Christian painting</p><p>M.W. Mann, Ste Anne Hospital, Dept. of Neurosurgery, Paris, France</p><p>The fruit of the tree of knowledge, i.e. the knowledge abouthuman mortality, spurs cultural creation. Epilepsy is, in manydifferent times, places, cultures, seen as something close to death.</p><p>But this death is transient, a characteristic it shares in Christiantradition with the dynamics of one other being: Christ. In ourpresentation, we explore how Christian painting interprets, in theframework of the biblical story of Jesus, the circle from an epilepticseizure to death and resurrection. In his last painting, TheTransfiguration, Raphael brings together Christ and the epileptic,possessed son, standing up as a figure of renaissance. Renaissanceand its concept of the individual express through its genius Raphaelthe revolutionary idea of an oscillatory relationship between theepileptic son and the son of God.</p><p>Three lines of argumentation, medical (the epileptic seizure as atransient form of death), religious (Chi-cross as a representation of</p><p>1525-5050/$ see front matter</p><p>Epilepsy &amp; Behavior 28 (2013) 303332</p><p>Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect</p><p>Epilepsy &amp; Behavior</p><p>j ourna l homepage: www.e lsev ie r.com/ locate /yebeh</p></li></ul>