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About This Quiz
Crazy as it sounds, foreign accent syndrome is real. Exploding head syndrome: also real. What about the "black shakes" or "bicycle face"? See if you can tell the difference between what's real and what's not.
Real or made up: dragon pox
real historical disease
Dragon Pox, a contagious and potentially life-threatening disease, affects wizards and witches in J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series.
It was believed the uterus, considered an independent animal, would freely move through a woman's body, causing disease. While it sounds like something out of a horror film, for Hippocrates and his followers, including Aretaeus and Plato, it was a real condition.
If you think of delicate women retreating to fainting couches overcome by "the vapors," you're not that far off. Between the Victorian age and the 1920s, "the vapors" was used to describe anything from premenstrual syndrome to anxiety and depression.
You mean you were diagnosed with something called a brain cloud and didn't ask for a second opinion? This fictional disease from "Joe Versus the Volcano" has no symptoms but will kill you within a few months.
During a time when effective medications didn't exist and treatment facilities were overcrowded (and the treatments themselves often dangerous), psychiatrist Walter Freeman performed the first prefrontal lobotomy in the U.S. on 63-three-year-old Alice Hood Hammatt, a housewife living in Kansas. Freeman believed lobotomy was the cure for an overload of emotions that could lead to mental illness.
This was the first mental disorder the medical community attributed to women, with symptoms including nervousness, fainting, outbursts and erotic fantasies. The remedy? A "pelvic massage" with a happy ending.
Today it's known as tuberculosis, but Hippocrates estimated it was the most widespread disease of his age. The arts and music of the 19th century romanticized it. And Chekov, Chopin, Kafka, Keats and Orwell all died of it.
The phrase "mad as a hatter" has roots in hat making. Milliners curing felt meant working with mercury, and long-term exposure to mercury vapors caused many people to develop mercury poisoning, the symptoms of which made them appear to go "mad."
Robert Browning, Benjamin Franklin, Immanuel Kant, the Medici ... they all had what was called the "patrician malady," a condition that was considered the arthritis of the rich. Today we call the disease "gout."
Phossy jaw, also known as phosphorus necrosis of the jaw, was a concern in the second half of the 19th century when match factory workers or anyone who worked with phosphorus noticed their jaw bones would glow in the dark.
Bowden's malady is a made-up malady. It is a degenerative disease that affects the bone and muscle, caused by the ore mining and atmospheric conditions of Regina on "Firefly," in "The Train Job" episode.
King George III, it would turn out, wasn't suffering from an indeterminate "madness." It wouldn't be figured out until the 20th century that George III's behavior and physical symptoms were caused by porphyria.
POEMS — (p)olyneuropathy, (o)rganomegaly, (e)ndocrinopathy, (m)onoclonal gammopathy and (s)kin changes syndrome is a rare multisystemic disease that can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms look a lot like other diseases.
There are a range of symptoms: debilitating stomach cramps, severe diarrhea, memory loss, partial facial paralysis, temporary blindness, drooling, bleeding gums, erectile dysfunction and uncontrollable flatulence. It's called the kane madness, the results of a botched vaccine in the movie "Evolution."
We've all been startled, but this syndrome causes an extreme startle in the form of an uncontrollable jump. Discovered in the late 19th century by George Beard, its name comes from the first group of people it was identified in: lumberjacks in Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec.