Document Detail

J.L. Corning and vagal nerve stimulation for seizures in the 1880s.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11839848     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Beginning in the late 18th century, facial flushing and bounding carotid artery pulses during seizures were seen as evidence that seizures resulted from "venous hyperaemia" of the CNS. Consequently, physicians used digital compression of the carotid artery, and later carotid ligation, to abort seizures. In the early 1880s, New York neurologist James Leonard Corning (1855--1923) developed several instruments for carotid artery compression in the treatment of seizures. These devices included a two-pronged, fork-like instrument (the "carotid fork") for temporary compression as an abortive treatment and an adjustable belt-like instrument to encircle the neck (the "carotid truss") for chronic compression as a prophylactic treatment. Corning's uncontrolled observations suggested that the abortive treatment decreased the duration of seizures and that the prophylactic treatment decreased the frequency of seizures. Corning later combined instrumented carotid artery compression with other devices to decrease cerebral blood flow, including transcutaneous electrical vagal nerve and cervical sympathetic stimulation. Observed side effects of treatment included bradycardia, dizziness, and syncope. Corning's use of instrumented carotid compression and his precocious application of transcutaneous electrical vagal nerve stimulation were not widely adopted by neurologists, and these techniques and devices ultimately were abandoned in the late 19th century.
Douglas J Lanska
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Biography; Historical Article; Journal Article; Portraits    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Neurology     Volume:  58     ISSN:  0028-3878     ISO Abbreviation:  Neurology     Publication Date:  2002 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-03-06     Completed Date:  2002-03-28     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0401060     Medline TA:  Neurology     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  452-9     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Great Lakes VA Healthcare System, 500 East Veterans Street, Tomah, WI 54660, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Electric Stimulation Therapy / history*,  instrumentation
Epilepsy / history*,  therapy
History, 19th Century
New York
United States
Vagus Nerve
Personal Name Subject
Personal Name Subject:
James Leonard Corning

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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