Article Text

Download PDFPDF
4 Epilepsy – the key that unlocked neuropsychiatry
  1. Michael R Trimble
  1. Emeritus Professor of Behavioural Neurology at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London


Professor Trimble initial degree was in neuroanatomy a discipline which he has followed throughout his career.

Interests Neuropsychopharmacology with special reference to neuropsychiatric disorders: epilepsy, its relationship to disturbances of behaviour and its treatment, and the effects of antiepileptic drugs and other treatment for epilepsy on the brain and behaviour. Other research and clinical interests include movement disorders and their treatment, especially the development of psychiatric disorders in Parkinson’s disease and Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome, head injuries, dementia and the spectrum of presentations in neurology and psychiatry of patients with medically unexplained neurological symptoms. Many such patients turn out to have one or other form of somatoform disorder.

Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and a Member of the Association of British Neurologists. Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the American Neurological Association. Three Research degrees: MD (in medicine), BSc (in neuroanatomy), and MPhil (in psychiatry). International Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and he has attended nearly every APA meeting since his residency at the Phipps Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital in the mid 1970s.

His publications include three editions of Biological Psychiatry (1988, 1996 and 2010) and several other single author titles dealing with the interface between neurology and psychiatry.

His publications include the Soul in the Brain: The Cerebral Basis of Language, Art and Belief. Johns Hopkins, 2007. Why Humans Like to Cry – Tragedy, Evolution and the Brain, Oxford University Press 2012 and The Intentional Brain: Motion, Emotion, and the Development of Modern Neuropsychiatry (Johns Hopkins Press 2016).

Epilepsy has been central to the history of neuropsychiatry, since Babylonian times. In this historical whirlwind tour of ideas related to associations between epilepsy and behaviour disorders, much of the presentation will relate to the beginnings of perhaps a new approach to neuropsychiatry, ushered in by Hughlings Jackson. This underwent an eclipse in the first half of the 20th century. The significant ideas and investigations of many people from the 1970s through to the end of the last century will be highlighted in order to reveal how epilepsy forms a major cornerstone for the development of modern neuropsychiatry.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.