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JAMA 100 Years Ago | March 29, 1913|

THE RATTLESNAKE-VENOM TREATMENT OF EPILEPSY

JAMA. 2013;309(12):1207. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.145314.
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March 29, 1913

The fashion of using biologic products of extreme toxic potency is on us. It seems unnecessary to have these products accurately standardized, or to have their employment in human beings preceded by careful animal experimentation in which both the immediate and remote effects of such toxication can he determined. So long as a profound “reaction” is produced the end in view seems to have been attained, for by that reaction, if one may credit the enthusiastic reports of the advocates of these new and heroic therapeutic adventures, beneficial results in diseases otherwise practically incurable, epilepsy for instance, seem attainable. Curiously, however, these new fields for the employment of biologic toxins seem to require preliminary exploitation through the agency of the public press; and with the growing tendency of lay publications to magnify the sensational at the expense of the scientifically exact in alleged discoveries in medicine, there is little wonder that a treatment like the injection of rattlesnake-venom for epilepsy should have excited a lively and exaggerated interest.

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