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Observations placeholder

Hack Tuke, Daniel – Sickness - Epilepsy induced by powerful emotions – anxiety and trouble



Type of Spiritual Experience


The cause and effect chain that Dr Hack Tuke describes in this case history starts with ‘anxiety and trouble’ and is exacerbated by ‘a great fright’.  High emotion can cause nutritional deprivation as it restricts the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients.  Nutritional deprivation, especially of essential minerals , then causes the ‘disruptive discharge’ of epilepsy.  But in this instance, the mineral imbalance was not addressed –in effect the cause was not addressed and as Dr Hack Tuke says “It would be interesting to know whether the improvement recorded in this case was sustained”.

A description of the experience

As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,

SECTION II. — Irregular and Excessive Muscular Contraction : Spasms and Convulsions.

Dr. Todd, Dr. Carpenter, and Van der Kolk, all employ the familiar illustration of the Leyden jar to describe the condition of the nervous tissue at the seat of the disease. Continual malnutrition causes disturbance of the polar state of some region of the encephalon. If it amounts to a certain intensity it is manifested in an epileptic fit, as the jar, " when charged with electricity to a certain state of tension, gets rid of the disturbance of equilibrium by the disruptive discharge." (Dr. Todd's "Lumleian Lectures," 1849, and Human Physiology By Dr. Carpenter. 4th Edit. 1853, p. 876.)
I abridge the report of the case given by Dr. Althaus in the " Medical Times and Gazette," April 24th, 1869. ……………………………..

In another case, under the care of Dr. Althaus, the disorder was attributed by the patient to a great deal of trouble and anxiety, and was also preceded by a great fright when he was awakened by an alarm of the house being on fire.

When admitted into the Infirmary for Epilepsy and Paralysis he was 36, and had suffered for six years from irregular attacks of petit mal, the attacks being marked by severe pain at the back of the head, and a thrilling sensation going through him as if about to die.

Sometimes it appears to him "as if a vapor rose on his brain and muddled him." This lasts only about a second, and he then quite loses his consciousness for about a minute. While in this condition he will perhaps scratch the plate with his knife, or tear up paper or his clothes, or pull a handkerchief over his head, or, if in the street, put mud on his clothes, &c. When he comes out of these attacks he feels very confused, and sees double for two or three minutes.

Within an hour or two he has quite recovered himself. These fits happen two or three times a week, generally only one in a day, and but very rarely two or three at a time. From Nov. 27th, 1866, to April 2d, he took sulphate of zinc, oil, and nitrate of silver, but, although the general health improved, the fits remained as frequent.

Galvanization of both hemispheres and the medulla oblongata was then ordered twice a week. In the course of the next month he had only one fit, in which he tore his waistcoat, and the report of Oct. 15th says: "Has had altogether fifteen applications of galvanism and no fit during the last four months. Ceased attendance" (Medical Times and Gazette, May 8th, 1869).

The source of the experience

Hack Tuke, Daniel

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Types of hurt and organs

Activities and commonsteps