Home Tech & Science Rare Syndrome Mysteriously Spreading Among New York State’s Teens

Rare Syndrome Mysteriously Spreading Among New York State’s Teens

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This is 16-year-old Lori Brownell. As you can see in the video, Lori is very sick. Her symptoms started last August. Nobody could diagnose her at the time, and since then 17 more kids have developed the same symptoms in the same geographical area.

On Christmas Eve, doctors told Lori she may have Tourette syndrome, a sickness that causes involuntary physical and vocal tics and, in a minority of cases, swearing. What nobody knows yet is why this syndrome is spreading so quickly, and in such a small community.

The rest of the kids are showing the same symptoms as Lori. 15 of the 17 teenagers affected by this syndrome—all girls except one boy—go to LeRoy High School, in Genesee County, New York. The other two girls are from Corinth, in Saratoga County, about 50 miles away. It’s unclear yet if there is any connection between these two groups.

Some doctors believe that all of the teens have conversion disorder, a neurosis that affects motor functions. People used to call this hysteria. Conversion disorder’s symptoms may include fits, numbness, blindness and paralysis. Psychiatrists believe this disorder happens because of difficulties in the patient’s life, not because of any external pathogen or chemical substance.

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