An 18th century opinion on electrical stimulation on a child with cerebral palsy
It was good to read Wright et al's paper about an evolving understanding of a role for electrical stimulation for children with cerebral palsy . However the search strategy missed a relevant and enlightening history. The English Physician Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) used electricity to treat childhood cerebral palsy more than a decade before Luigi Galvani (1737-1798) made electricity popular.
Mary Ann Wedgwood (1778-86) was the youngest of Josiah Wedgewood's (1730-1795) children. She was ill from birth, developed intractable epilepsy which lead to partial paralysis and subsequent evolving severe developmental and physical disability. She died aged 7 years and is famously shown in her special carriage in George Stubbs (1724-1806) Wedgewood Family Portrait (1780).
Wedgewood wrote in 1779 about electrical treatment of his then 1 year old daughter "Dr Darwin was here on Friday with my father in order that our little girl to be electrified two or three times a day on the side affected and to be continued for some weeks. We are willing to flatter ourselves that she has received some benefit, as she begins to move her arm and leg a little." 
The controversy about electricity- 'galvanism' in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was fierce. In just one example by Dr John Darwall from 1830.
"Galvanism much recommended in the paralysis of children but it has not preserved its reputation and is now almost abandoned to charlatans." 
It's a shame this was omitted, giving this otherwise excellent review a lack of historical depth.
1] Wright PA, Durham S, Ewins DJ , and Swain ID Neuromuscular electrical stimulation for children with cerebral palsy: a review. Arch. Dis. Child. 2012 97:364-371; doi:10.1136/archdischild-2011-300437.
2] Wedgwood J., Selected Letters, pp. 243-4. In: King-Hele D., The essential writings of Erasmus Darwin MacGibbon & Kee 1968 p. 68.
3] Williams AN, Reinarz J., John Darwall Birmingham's forgotten Children's Physician. Arch Dis Child 2005: 90 (1):60-5.
4] Darwall J., Plain instructions for the management of infants. London: Whittaker, Treacher and Arnot, 1830 p. 155.
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