Behavioral Control of Seizures in Squirrel Monkeys (Saimiri sciureus)
Atwell, Margherita H.
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Problem: to ascertain whether epileptic seizures develop as a result of a laboratory produced lesion of the nodosa ganglia of the vagus nerve, to condition the inhibition of seizures, and to theorize on sudden death. Procedures: eleven Squirrel monkeys were surgically implanted with depth electrodes. Electroencephalographic recordings were made and 38 days later lesions of the nodosa ganglia were created. Seizures were punished with electro stimulation and desirable behavior was positively reinforced. Findings: the lesion of the nodosa ganglia of the vagus nerve created seizures which were suppressed with punishment-differential reinforcement of desirable behavior. Conclusions: it is possible that a vagal lesion is the explanation of the sudden death of persons diagnosed as epileptic, of persons who are not diagnosed as epileptic but who have disruptions of cardiac or respiratory functions, and of young babies, classified as crib deaths, who have the same cardiac and respiratory failure. Recommendations: further research is needed.
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