At the age of 16, when Byron heard that the woman whom he loved was considering getting married, he 'fell prey to violent convulsions'. The poet himself remarks: 'I almost suffocated.' On reading the description of such events, one immediately thinks of psychogenic seizures, especially when one remembers the poet's sensitive, emotional and neurotic character.
The incident which occurred in the last few weeks before Byron's death, is another matter, however. William Parry, one of Byron's companions on his visit to the Greek town of Mesolongion (where Byron had hurried in order to personally take the side of the Greeks in their fight for freedom against the Turks), describes how Byron suddenly swayed and sank to the floor after drinking cognac punch and cider.
'A minute later his teeth were clamped together, he was speechless and unconscious and he suffered violent convulsions. [...] His face was distorted and twisted to one side.'
Vorberg adds his opinion on this:
'I doubt whether the epileptic seizure was a precursor of his serious cerebral disease, I regard it as the result of excessive alcohol consumption. Since the middle of February 1824, Byron showed clear signs of suffering from the so-called malarial cahexia: irritability, headaches, dizziness, weakened memory, [...] fever attacks [...]. He developed meningo-encephalitis as the cerebral vessels were flooded with malaria plasmodia. The cortical cells begin to disintegrate.'