Epilepsy has been around for a very very long time and finds mention in several old books and treatises. It has victimized several millions people, including kings and the paupers alike.
The condition has had a long history of existence, with its earliest description dating back to 5 BC in Mesapotamia when it was described as the ‘falling disease’. Considering the times that it existed, the disease was associated with evil spirits and demons and it took ancient physicians such as Atreya (India) and Hippocrates from Greece to draw attention to the fact that the disease has more to do with an impaired brain function and less with evil spirits.
Despite the scientific evidences, individuals with epilepsy continue to be stigmatized and are victims of prejudiced. Recently, however, a school of thought has emerged, which links epilepsy with genius although there is no hard-core evidence to substantiate the claim.
According to Jerome Engel, a neurologist at the University of California School of Medicine and author of ‘Seizures and Epilepsy’,"There is no evidence... that either epileptic seizures or a predisposition to epilepsy is capable of engendering exceptional talents. Rather, the occasional concurrence of epilepsy and genius most likely reflects the probability that a common disorder will at times afflict people with uncommon potential."
It is however untrue that epilepsy maims a person for life. The list of personalities mentioned below provides ample evidence that epilepsy need not stand in the way of individuals and their achievements.
Some of the famous personalities with epilepsy are-
- Vincent van Gogh-Famous Dutch painter
- Julius Caeser-Roman emperor
- Lord Byron-English poet
- Napoleon Bonaparte-French emperor
- Pope Pius IX-erstwhile pope
- Alfred Nobel-Swedish chemist
- Joan Of Arc-French saint
- Moliere-French playwright
- Alexander the great
- Socrates-Greek philosopher
- Margaux Hemingway-American actress
- Famous people who suffered from epilepsy - (http://www.epilepsiemuseum.de/alt/body_prominenteen.html)