New issue – Journal of the History of the Neurosciences

jhnA new issue of JHN is out and includes the following articles:

An Approach to Nineteenth-Century Medical Lexicon: The Term “Dreamy State” by Esther Lardreau. The abstract reads:

Hughlings-Jackson coined the concept of dreamy state: According to him, one of the sensations of a “dreamy state” was an odd feeling of recognition and familiarity, often called “déjà vu”. A clear sense of strangeness could also be experienced in the “dreamy state” (“jamais vu”). Jackson himself did not use these French terms, but he was quite clear about the vivid feelings of strangeness and familiarity, which can occur in both normal and pathological conditions.In order to explore some of the exchanges between medical and nonmedical vocabularies, we examine the historical origins of this technical concept. By basing the study on European (medical and nonmedical) literature of the nineteenth century, we review the first descriptions of this state and compare them with the famous Hughlings-Jackson definitions.

It appears that this medical concept was partly borrowed from a wide cultural background before being rationally developed and reworked in the fields of neurology and psychiatry.

Psychic Blindness or Visual Agnosia: Early Descriptions of a Nervous Disorder by Christian Baumann. The abstract reads:

This article briefly reports on three early contributions to the understanding of visual agnosia as a syndrome sui generis. The authors of the respective papers worked in different fields such as physiology, ophthalmology, and neurology, and, although they were not in direct contact with each other, their results converged upon a consistent view of a nervous disorder that they called psychic blindness.

The Disease of the Moon: The Linguistic and Pathological Evolution of the English Term “Lunatic” by M. A. Riva; L. Tremolizzo; M. Spicci; C. Ferrarese; G. De Vito; G. C. Cesana and V. A. Sironi. The abstract reads:

The public opinion and the scientific community incorrectly believe that the English term “lunatic” was originally related only to insanity, but it also referred to epileptic people. The aim of this article is to clarify the original meaning of the English word “lunatic” by analyzing the evolution of the relationship between psychiatric and neurological diseases and by pointing out the influence of the moon in the history of medicine, in popular traditions, and in English literature. The article also contains a detailed and accurate review of the modern scientific literature on the relationship between moon and epilepsy/psychiatric disorders.
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More information, as well as a complete table of contents, can be found here.

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