Skip to comments.Foreign Accents, Alien Hands and Other Medical Oddities
Posted on 02/04/2009 2:33:12 PM PST by JoeProBono
Alien Hand Syndrome. Fans of "Dr. Strangelove" will recall the title character's inability to control his right hand, which kept trying to give a Nazi salute. Real-life sufferers of AHS (only a few dozen to date) lose conscious control of a limb, probably due to a lost connection between brain hemispheres. The "alien" hand may thwart what the other hand is doing, such as unbuttoning a shirt the other hand is buttoning, or tamping out a cigarette the other hand has just lit. Symptoms can be managed by keeping the rogue hand preoccupied by giving it an object to hold or by muffling it with an oven mitt.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
So if my arm reaches out and knocks out the nearby stupid idiot with the t-shirt portraying our new fuhrer with his insipid “hope” logo, I have a medical out?
“Zee whole point of zee doomsdahy machine iz that you TELL PEOPLE U HAVE IT!” But seriously some times my hands work on their own as my mind goes off on a fishing trip. Should I be concerned?
That must be what my daughter was thinking about the day she confessed that she was anxiously awaiting my swearing in as a US citizen because "then you will speak like everybody else".
Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Disorder.
The typical response to being startled -- muscles tense, heart pounds, senses go on alert -- lasts only a few seconds. But in this disorder, first observed in 1878 among French-Canadian lumberjacks in the Moosehead Lake area of Maine, the reaction is greatly exaggerated.
Sufferers jump, twitch, flail their limbs and obey commands given suddenly, even if it means hurting themselves or a loved one. It's also been observed in factory workers in Siberia and Malaysia. Some experts believe it's a genetic mutation that blocks glycine, a neurotransmitter that calms the central nervous system's response to stimuli.
Others think it's more psychological than neurological, and perhaps part of a heightened defense mechanism from living and working in close quarters.
Who knew there were so many slapstick medical conditions?
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.
Named after Lewis Carroll's famous novel, this neurological condition makes objects (including one's own body parts) seem smaller, larger, closer or more distant than they really are. It's more common in childhood, often at the onset of sleep, and may disappear by adulthood. The prevalence and origin are unknown, but it sometimes accompanies migraine headaches, epilepsy, brain tumors or the use of psychotropic drugs.
I knew a young man who was afflicted by this, and other things, almost spontaneously, when serving with the US Army in Germany. The local doctors called it “the secretary syndrome”, as the four or five people who developed whatever it was were clerical workers. He was a company clerk.
He discovered his problem when at home, sitting in a chair watching TV. He felt something brush his left cheek, then a second or two later, his left hand hit him on the face. He was scared silly to see his left arm jumping around like a fish out of water.
Before he could get to the emergency room, he appeared to show facial symptoms of a stroke. But they tested his blood thoroughly and there were none of the chemical indicators of a stroke present.
After that time, he started developing “fixations”. He would be talking to you, and halfway through a sentence, suddenly something would catch his eye and he would be hypnotized by it, sitting or standing there, frozen and staring.
Almost needless to say, the Army gave him a medical “profile” that he joked “even prohibited him from using crayons.” They never did come through with a proper diagnosis, but gave him 100% disability, and what he called a “platinum card” for the VA.
Labyrinth reference FTW!
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