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Famous People with Epilepsy


Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” But what if the “version of past events are disputed?” Where does that leave history and more importantly who determines the accuracy of these events? Dr. John Hughes, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago decided to dive headlong into this question while researching the extensive timeline of historical figures reported to have suffered with epilepsy.To read more go to: Editor 


Interesting article!I once read that the word "seizure" came from the name "Caesar," because Julius Caesar was epileptic.  I'm not sure how completely true this is (about the origin of the word; Caesar was definitely epileptic), though.

Along with Julius Caesar being epileptic, Charles Dickens, Vincentvan Gogh, Joan of Arc, Alexander the Great, Tchaikovsky, Danny Glover and Billy Idol all have epilepsy. Just in case you wanted to know.

Hmmm, I love Billy Idol.

Billy Idol??? Really?! Wow... I didn't know he was counted among the famous personages with epilepsy. How'd you find that out? Thanks for sharing, too!!!

I did a paper on my experiences w/ epilepsy and the stigma that we face so as a little side note I mentioned people that were/are famous who have epilepsy. 

Neil Young is epilepic as well.

I've been thinking about this article for months. In this article it Dr. Hughes believes that he is able to prove that not one of the historical figures that he researched actually had epilepsy but suffered other heath problems that resulted in seizure activity.The point of the article is that many cases of Epilepsy have been and still are misdiagnosed.Unfortunately it seems that epilepsy is treated my the medical profession by treating the end result (seizures) without looking at the patient as a whole. If a seizure is a body's way of indicating that there is a problem, perhaps an underlying problem, that ultimately results in a misfiring in the brain, the underlying problem is the real culprit.Epilepsy is not treated this way. I did not find this article helpful or encouraging. It was nice to imagine that amazingly talented people have been afflicted with epilepsy, that through history, epileptics have played an important part in shaping culture and politics.Instead, I feel the article shatters this myth and leaves behind the impression that Epilepsy is often either a psychological or physical problem that can only be determined (guessed at) after one has died.

I agree with you, willsmom.It is encouraging (in a way) to think that some of my favorite artists as well as terrific theorists, and world rulers suffered epilepsy. It offers comfort, that despite the disease these people were still able to accomplish so much. I find it disheartening that we would seek out to dispute it. Many of those researched lived hundreds of years ago. How could we possibly come to a definitive diagnosis, that they weren't epileptic but were actually suffering psychogenic seizures? One of the very first lessons in studies (statistics) is "know your source". Until I see the study for myself, and feel confident in the sources used, I'll remain skeptical. Heather ;)

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