Culture bound syndromes in girls

Two occasions of mysterious illnesses among girls: culture bound syndromes?  The first is a Radiolab podcast about an 1962 outbreak of contagious laughter in Tanzania and the second is a  New York Times Magazine article about a group of girls from Le Roy, New York (near Rochester).

Contagious Laughter Radiolab Podcast

The Mystery of 18 Twitching Teenagers in Le Roy

Lydia Parker, foreground, at home with her sister. She got one of the bruises on her face when an uncontrollable tic caused her to hit herself with her cellphone.
(c) Gillian Laub/The New York Times

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2 thoughts on “Culture bound syndromes in girls

  1. Lydia Parker’s strange tic is a unique and interesting case. I read this New York Time Article earlier this fall when it was on news and radio stations after the NYT article came out. This CBS or Culture Bound Syndrome is unique in the fact that when looking at CBS’s they almost always occur in pre-teen and teenage girls. The connection that CBS has to young African Children is also interesting.

  2. I found the connection between the tics and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus to be interesting, and it reminded me of the connection between St. Vitus’ Dance and Sydenham’s Chorea. Although from what I can tell, Sydenham’s Chorea doesn’t explain all of the incidences of “dancing mania,” which is still largely thought to have been culture bound.

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