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On stroke and facial palsy in babylonian texts

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Chapter Summary

Many years ago, one of the authors of this chapter recognised that Tablet XXVI of Labat's Traité akkadien de diagnostics et pronostics médicaux, despite the apparent, and mistaken, association with 'contusion' or 'bruising', was in fact concerned with stroke. The chapter shows that how central a part mouth paralysis or 'mouth seizure', Sum. ka-dib-bi-da, Akk.kadibbidû or ṣibit pī, played in the description and treatment of stroke in ancient Mesopotamia. One further text is of relevance in the context of 'mouth seizure'. In S. Parpola's Letters from Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars, No. 327, a text edited by the author under the title 'List of Remedies'. Facial palsy has no relation to stroke, although to an observer, weakness about the mouth and speech difficulty might well suggest the possibility of connection.

Keywords: ancient Mesopotamia; Babylonian texts; facial palsy; mouth seizure; stroke



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