IT IS WELL known that acute purulent meningitis in infancy and childhood may be followed by mental defect, neurologic abnormalities, changes in behavior, or recurrent convulsive seizures. Recent methods of treatment have resulted in dramatic reduction in mortality rates for all types of acute purulent meningitis. As more and more children survive the initial onslaught, the problem of residual disability becomes increasingly important. In every case, the question arises, Will this child's subsequent development be normal?
On clinical grounds alone one can usually predict with some degree of accuracy which children will probably return to normal. It would be of practical value, however, if more sensitive methods were available for determining the extent of damage and relating this to the likelihood of subsequent disability. For this reason, we have used electroencephalography during and after acute purulent meningitis in order to determine whether it is useful as a prognostic tool in