Helen was not born blind and deaf; it was not until nineteen months of age that she came down with an illness described by doctors as "an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain."

What does "an acute congestion of the brain" in the above refer to? Thanks.
I doubt it means anything which translates into modern medical knowledge. That's from a period when very little was known about the brain, and frontal lobotomy's and blood-letting were recognized cures for real medical problems. I'd say it means her brain was all clogged up, big time. With what? Grey matter??

It's possible that records of her symptoms still exist which enable doctors to make an educated guess as to what her affliction was. "An accute congestion of the brain" is undoubtedly sheer bull, although the doctor who created the expression may have envisioned something in his own "brain."

I see your web reference mentions "meningitis," which is an inflamation of the brain, known to cause these permanent sensory losses in severe cases.

Edit. Lest I be responsible for creating misinformation, frontal lobotomies are much more modern than I thought - 1939 to 1951. Helen Keller would have been age 19 months in 1881, 58 years before the first such brain operation.
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this passage refers to Helen Keller i believe. one of the most academically achieved deaf blind and unable to talk children of her time. she was not born this way it was an illness that just occured. she came downstairs one day and was unable to see or hear her parents talking to her. because she was deaf as well as blind a doctor at a special school she attended formulated a new type of language for her to use where her teacher would sign into her up turned palm. Helen Keller became a very accomplished young woman.
Consult to a doctor