Encephalitis Lethargica: During and After the Epidemic

Hardcover | December 31, 2010

EditorJoel Vilensky

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Encephalitis Lethargica: During and After the Epidemic is akin to a detective novel about a major medical mystery that remains unsolved. During the 1920s and 1930s a strange, very polymorphic condition affected much of the world although not at the same time everywhere and certainly not withthe same symptoms. This condition, encephalitis lethargica, could cause death in a short period, or a Rip Van Winkle type of sleep that might last days, weeks or months, but could also, surprisingly, cause insomnia. Its symptoms were thought to encompass almost anything imaginable, which made itsdiagnosis exceedingly difficult, to the point where its existence as a distinct neurologic entity could be questioned. Furthermore, even in those patients who appeared to recover from the disease, there was a large risk that they would subsequently develop a more chronic and devastating sequelbelieved to follow the disease in up to 80% of its victims, postencephalitic parkinsonism. This condition became much better known than its antecedent because of the Oliver Sacks' book, Awakenings, and the subsequent 1990 movie of the same name.Encephalitis Lethargica: During and After the Epidemic thoroughly describes the disease during the epidemic period and also details all the cases that have been reported since that time. Using language that the non-neurologist can easily understand, the book identifies the core features of thisdisease and tries to identify its cause. Encephalitis Lethargica: During and After the Epidemic also presents a thorough analysis of postencephalitic parkinsonism and its relationship to encephalitic lethargica. Whether this book solves the mystery of encephalitis lethargica remains to be determined, but regardless, as a result of this book, the number of clues available have been greatly increased. Accordingly, should encephalitis lethargica reappear, contemporary physicians will be prepared to diagnoseand treat it because of the information provided in the book.

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Encephalitis Lethargica: During and After the Epidemic is akin to a detective novel about a major medical mystery that remains unsolved. During the 1920s and 1930s a strange, very polymorphic condition affected much of the world although not at the same time everywhere and certainly not withthe same symptoms. This condition, encephali...

Dr. Vilensky became interested in aspects of the history of neurology after a career investigating the neurological control of movement. He has published numerous articles on various aspects of neurologic history including on the work of the father of neurosurgery, Sir Victor Horsley. Dr. Vilensky authored a book on the WWI chemical...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:December 31, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019537830X

ISBN - 13:9780195378306

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Table of Contents

ContributorsSteele: PrologueSacks: ForewordVilensky: Preface1. Vilensky and Gilman: Introduction2. Vilensky and Gilman: Encephalitis Lethargica During the Epidemic Period3. Marlowe, Owens, Vilensky and Cook: Epidemiology4. Foley and Stevens: Pre-1917 History of Encephalitis Lethargica5. Vilensky, Duvoisin and Mukhamedzyanov: Post Epidemic Period Encephalitis Letharigca6. Vilensky and Owen: Transmissibility (Contagiousness) of Encephalitis Lethargica7. Vilensky and Gilman: Chronic Encephalitis Lethargica: Postencephalitic Parkinsonism8. Vilensky, Duvoisin and Gilman: Oliver Sacks, Awakenings and Postencephalitic Parkinsonism9. Vilensky and McCall: Etiology of Encephalitis Lethargica10. Vilensky, Anderson, Duvoisin, Josephs and Mukhamedzyanov: Neuropathology of Acute and Chronic Encephalitis Lethargica11. Vilensky, Cameron and Duvoisin: Self-Reports of Acute and Chronic Encephalitis Lethargica12. Vilensky and Gilman: Conclusions