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Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2004;8(6):307-12.

Recurrent cerebral fever in the seventeenth and twenty first centuries.

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CDC, Child Health Directorate, Northampton General Hospital, Cliftonville, Northampton NN1 5BD, UK.


The development of modern neuroscience away from the concepts of Hippocrates and Galen can be traced to the writings of some 17th century clinicians, especially Thomas Willis. His exceptional skills in observation and description allow a window into the experiences of our medical forebears. His approach to the management of infection-related coma in a child is amenable to modern interpretation and comparison with modern management because of the clarity of his clinical descriptions. Modern clinicians may benefit from this historical perspective into influences on the origins of neuroscience. The different outcome for a child presenting in the 17th and 21st century encourage grateful reflection on our current privileged position.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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