Rigor mortis and the epileptology of Charles Bland Radcliffe (1822–1889)

Eadie, M. J. (2007) Rigor mortis and the epileptology of Charles Bland Radcliffe (1822–1889). Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 14 3: 201-207. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2006.06.002

Author Eadie, M. J.
Title Rigor mortis and the epileptology of Charles Bland Radcliffe (1822–1889)
Journal name Journal of Clinical Neuroscience   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0967-5868
Publication date 2007-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jocn.2006.06.002
Open Access Status
Volume 14
Issue 3
Start page 201
End page 207
Total pages 7
Place of publication Kidlington, United Kingdom
Publisher Churchill Livingstone
Language eng
Subject 110904 Neurology and Neuromuscular Diseases
Abstract Charles Bland Radcliffe (1822–1889) was one of the physicians who made major contributions to the literature on epilepsy in the mid-19th century, when the modern understanding of the disorder was beginning to emerge, particularly in England. His experimental work was concerned with the electrical properties of frog muscle and nerve. Early in his career he related his experimental findings to the phenomenon of rigor mortis and concluded that, contrary to the general belief of the time, muscle contraction depended on the cessation of nerve input, and muscle relaxation on its presence. He adhered to this counter-intuitive interpretation throughout his life and, based on it, produced an epileptology that was very different from those of his contemporaries and successors. His interpretations were ultimately without any direct influence on the advance of knowledge. However, his idea that withdrawal of an inhibitory process released previously suppressed muscular contractile powers, when applied to the brain rather than the periphery of the nervous system, permitted Hughlings Jackson to explain certain psychological phenomena that accompany or follow some epileptic events. As well, Radcliffe was one of the chief early advocates for potassium bromide, the first effective anticonvulsant.
Keyword Radcliffe
Rigor mortis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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