Posts tagged ‘Syndrome’

March 5, 2012

Urban Survival Syndrome

bernie goetz

The urban survival syndrome in United States jurisprudence, can be used either as a defense of justification or of excuse. The first case using the defense was the 1994 Fort Worth, Texas murder trial of Daimion Osby. The use of the ‘urban survival syndrome’ as a defense to criminal charges followed the success of the battered woman syndrome defense in State v. Kelly (1984), which was based on the acceptance that the presence of such a syndrome may cause the defendant, a victim of domestic violence, to reasonably believe she was in peril and was therefore justified in using deadly force, given the circumstances.

According to the defense, an individual experiencing the daily life of racial segregation and violence common in many inner cities in the United States causes a subjective state equivalent to that caused by survival in a violent battleground of war. As such it leads to a condition similar to a syndrome already recognized in both psychological and psychiatric practices, that is, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

read more »

February 27, 2012

Mean World Syndrome

if it bleeds it leads by timoh meyer

Deviancy amplification spiral

Mean world syndrome‘ is a term coined by professor of communications George Gerbner to describe a phenomenon whereby violence-related content of mass media makes viewers believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is. Mean world syndrome is one of the main conclusions of cultivation theory (which states that those who spend more time watching TV are more likely to perceive the real world in ways that reflect the most common messages of the TV world). Gerbner, a pioneer researcher on the effects of television on society, argued that people who watched a large amount of television tended to think of the world as an intimidating and unforgiving place.

The number of opinions, images, and attitudes that viewers tend to make when watching television will have a direct influence on what the viewer perceives the real world as. They will reflect and refer to the most common images or recurrent messages thought to impact on their own real life. Gerbner once said ‘You know, who tells the stories of a culture really governs human behavior,’ he said. ‘It used to be the parent, the school, the church, the community. Now it’s a handful of global conglomerates that have nothing to tell, but a great deal to sell.’ Individuals who watch television infrequently and adolescents who talk to their parents about reality are claimed to have a more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, and they may be able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to violence.

December 8, 2011

Uncombable Hair Syndrome


Uncombable hair syndrome (also known as Pili trianguli et canaliculi, Spun-glass hair, and Cheveux incoiffables) is a rare structural anomaly of the hair with a variable degree of effect. It was discovered in the 1970s. It becomes apparent from as little as 3 months to up to 12 years.

The hair is normal in quantity and is usually silvery-blond or straw-colored. It is disorderly, it stands out from the scalp, and cannot be combed flat. The underlying structural anomaly is longitudinal grooving of the hair shaft, which appears triangular in cross section. To be noticeable, 50 % of hairs must be affected by the structural abnormality. Improvement often occurs in later childhood.

November 22, 2011

Dysexecutive Syndrome

working memory

Dysexecutive [dis-ig-zek-yuh-tivsyndrome (DES) consists of a group of symptoms, usually resulting from brain damage, that fall into cognitive, behavioral and emotional categories and tend to occur together. The term was introduced by British psychologist Alan Baddeley to describe a common pattern of dysfunction in executive functions, such as planning, abstract thinking, flexibility and behavioral control.

It is thought to be Baddeley’s theory of working memory and the central executive that are the hypothetical systems impaired in DES. The syndrome was once known as frontal lobe syndrome, however dysexecutive syndrome is preferred because it emphasizes the functional pattern of deficits (the symptoms) over the location of the syndrome in the frontal lobe, which is often not the only area affected.

read more »

November 10, 2011

Restless Legs Syndrome

jimmy legs

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) or Willis-Ekbom disease is a neurological disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move one’s body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations. It most commonly affects the legs, but can affect the arms, torso, and even phantom limbs. Moving the affected body part modulates the sensations, providing temporary relief. RLS sensations can most closely be compared to an itching or tickling in the muscles, like ‘an itch you can’t scratch’ or an unpleasant ‘tickle that won’t stop.’ The sensations typically begin or intensify during quiet wakefulness, such as when relaxing, reading, studying, or trying to sleep.

As with many diseases with diffuse symptoms, there is controversy among physicians as to whether RLS is a distinct syndrome. The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke publishes an information sheet characterizing the syndrome but acknowledging it as a difficult diagnosis. Physicians generally consider it a real entity that has specific diagnostic criteria., but many doctors express the view that the incidence of restless leg syndrome is exaggerated by manufacturers of drugs used to treat it. Others believe it is an underrecognized and undertreated disorder.

October 13, 2011

Exploding Head Syndrome

exploding head by keith haring

Exploding head syndrome is a parasomnia condition (sleep disorder) that causes the sufferer occasionally to experience a tremendously loud noise as originating from within his or her own head, usually described as the sound of an explosion, roar, gunshot, loud voices or screams, a ringing noise, or the sound of electrical arcing (buzzing). This noise usually occurs within an hour or two of falling asleep, but is not necessarily the result of a dream and can happen while awake as well. While the sound is perceived as extremely loud, it is usually not accompanied by pain. In some cases an instant flash of what is perceived as video ‘static’ is reported.

Attacks appear to change in number over time, with several attacks occurring in a space of days or weeks followed by months of remission. Sufferers often feel a sense of fear and anxiety after an attack, accompanied by elevated heart rate. Attacks are also often accompanied by perceived flashes of light (when perceived on their own, known as a ‘visual sleep start’) or difficulty in breathing. The condition is also known as ‘auditory sleep starts.’ It is not thought to be dangerous, although it is sometimes distressing to experience. Sufferers may experience an inability to vocalize any sound, or mild forms of sleep paralysis during an attack.

read more »

April 29, 2011

ACHOO Syndrome

photic sneeze reflex

Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helioophthalmic Outburst (ACHOO) Syndrome is a genetic dominant disorder that results in uncontrollable sneezing in response to numerous stimuli, such as looking at bright lights, cold air, or strong flavors. The condition affects 18-35% of the population, and its exact mechanism of action is not well understood.

Photic sneeze reflex is an dominant hereditary trait which causes sneezing, possibly many times consecutively when suddenly exposed to bright light. The first mention of the phenomenon is probably in the later work attributed to Aristotle (c. 200 BCE).

read more »

March 31, 2011

Charles Bonnet Syndrome

oliver sacks

Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a condition that causes patients with visual loss to have complex visual hallucinations, first described by Charles Bonnet in 1760, and first introduced into English-speaking psychiatry in 1982. Sufferers, who are mentally healthy people with often significant visual loss, have vivid, complex recurrent visual hallucinations. Often they come in the form of ‘lilliput hallucinations,’ in which objects are smaller than normal.

Sufferers understand that the hallucinations are not real, and the hallucinations are only visual. People suffering from CBS may experience a wide variety of hallucinations, such as images of complex colored patterns and images of people, or animals, plants or trees and inanimate objects. The hallucinations also often fit into the person’s surroundings. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and author who suffers from a retinal tumor, gave a TED talk about this and other visual hallucinations.

Tags: ,
March 31, 2011

Musical Ear Syndrome

musical halluciantion by ian moore

Musical ear syndrome (MES) refers to auditory hallucinations subsequent to hearing loss. It is comparable to Charles Bonnet syndrome (visual hallucinations by visually impaired people) and some have suggested this phenomenon could be included under that diagnosis. The occurrence of MES has been suggested to be very high among the hearing impaired. Sufferers typically hear music or singing and the condition is more common in women. The hallucinatory experiences differ from psychotic disorders although there may be some overlap.

The likely cause is a small cerebrovascular event affecting the auditory cortex. The ‘hole’ in the hearing range is ‘plugged’ by the brain confabulating a piece of information – in this case a remembered melody. A similar occurrence is seen with strokes of the visual cortex where a visual field defect occurs and the brain confabulates a piece of visual data to fill the spot. Towards the end of his life, Robert Schumann said he heard angelic music and music from other composers, which formed the basis for his violin concerto (however, his symptoms may also have been caused by syphilis or mercury poisoning).

Tags: ,
March 21, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome


Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS), also known as Todd’s syndrome, is a disorienting neurological condition which affects human perception. Sufferers may experience visual and other sensory distortions. A temporary condition, it is often associated with migraines, brain tumors, and the use of psychoactive drugs.

It can also present as the initial sign of the Epstein-Barr Virus. Anecdotal reports suggests that the symptoms of AIWS are fairly common in childhood, with many people growing out of them in their teens. It appears that AIWS is also a common experience at sleep onset.

March 16, 2011

China Syndrome


The China Syndrome is a term coined by an American physicist in 1971 to describe the result of a severe nuclear meltdown in which molten reactor core components penetrate their containment vessel and building. The term is misleading, since molten material from such an event could not melt through the crust of the Earth and reach China.

Nuclear power plants ordered during the late 1960s raised safety questions and created fears that a severe reactor accident could release large quantities of radioactive material into the environment. In the early 1970s, a controversy arose regarding the ability of emergency cooling systems to prevent a core meltdown, which might lead to the so-called China Syndrome.

February 2, 2011

Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome


Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome (SORAS) is a term used to describe the practice of accelerating the age of a television character (usually a child or teenager) in conflict with the timeline of a series and/or the real-world progression of time. Characters unseen on screen for a time might reappear portrayed by an actor several years older than the original. Usually coinciding with a recast, rapid aging is typically done to open up the character to a wider range of storylines, and to attract younger viewers.

The process originated in (and is most commonly used in) daytime soap operas. SORAS generally refers to cases in which a character’s rapid aging happens off-screen without any explanation, rather than to storylines in science fiction and fantasy in which a character ages rapidly due to technology, magic, or non-human biology. Coined by Soap Opera Weekly founding editor-in-chief Mimi Torchin in the early days of the magazine, the term is now widely used in the soap opera media.