Convulsions are readily recognized. The symptoms are characterized by a series of abrupt, involuntary contractions, which at times last long enough to keep the affected part in a set position for a while. These are named tonic convulsions. At other times the contractures follow each other rapidly--an intermittent contraction. These are called clonic convulsions.

Convulsions are general or local. In children, convulsions are common as a result of toxin poisoning. The earliest cause of convulsions in childhood occurs in the first month, and sometimes the first week, of life--namely, septic poisoning. The mother receives a laceration, or a bruising, which sloughs off, allowing absorption of more or less septic material. The only symptoms experienced by the mother are a slow getting-up, a slight fever, pallor (septicemia), and slowness in returning to normal. The septic state may be due to imperfect womb drainage. Rarely septic poisoning may be produced by a putrescent cord resting on an excoriated surface at the umbilicus. The convulsions from septic poisoning range from a slight one or more, to seizures repeated every twenty to thirty minutes for days.

Several years ago I was called to see a child, two weeks old, who, I was told, had been convulsing for eleven days. I watched it for an hour, and it had four during the hour. The spasms were short, not lasting more than two minutes. Recovery followed by proscribing the mother's milk. Another case comes to mind. This child, a bright boy a week old, had severe convulsions for twenty-four hours, which put his mentality in statu quo. He lived an idiot, and died at twenty-two. Now I am told that his mother is dying of cancer of the womb, twenty-five years after the birth of that boy--undoubtedly due to lack of proper attention to the injury received at the birth of that child. This woman was a Christian Scientist at the birth of her child, and is yet, so far as I know. Nature moves on ideally or not, as she must; faith, backed by intelligence, ends well, but, when backed by fanaticism, it ends in disaster and ruin.

Convulsions in children, coming from irritation in the bowels from fermentation, and toxic poisoning from decomposition, are of daily occurrence. Convulsions starting in this way come and go. The child may outgrow them--whatever that means; but the epilepsy of after-life takes its origin in childhood convulsions.

Jacksonian epilepsy is a partial or sympathetic convulsion confined to one-half of the body. The herniplegic type, which belongs to the epileptic type, involves progressively the two limbs of one side. This type of convulsion is not accompained by loss of consciousness at first or in the beginning of the seizure. The patients watch their own paroxysms. This form of epilepsy indicates a lesion of the brain on the opposite side.

There are abrupt, involuntary contractions of one or several muscles of the face. The cause is neuralgia; and the neuralgia is caused by toxin--coffee, tea, tobacco, alcoholics, or gastro-intestinal decomposition.