Friday, February 3, 2012 | Categories: Episodes
Part One of The Current
It's Friday February 3rd.
Pakistan is vehemently denying that it has any ties to the Taliban.
Currently, the claim would be way more credible had it not been issued on official Taliban stationary.
This is The Current.
Mass Hysteria in Upstate New York - Professor Simon Wessely
Thera Sanchez says it all started when she woke up from a nap. The 17 year old is a cheerleader at her school in LeRoy, New York. And because of what's happening to her and many of her school friends, the LeRoy cheerleaders have become the best known squad in the U.S.
A dozen other students have reported similar symptoms, ones doctors compare to Tourrette's Syndrome. There are ticks and verbal outbursts. Some flail their limbs involuntarily. Others whoop and bark. There is nausea, dizziness and cramping. Lydia Parker was the sixth person to report odd symptoms, which in her case are even more serious. Lydia has been asked if she is faking. In response, she points to the two sizeable bruises on her face.
Since these cases became public, celebrity activist Erin Brokovich has become involved. She believes the source of the illness could be environmental contamination-- possibly from a train derailment decades ago. But the state department of health and the school both say the building has been tested and no problems found. And Doctor Laszlo Mechtler, a neurologist who is treating some of the students, says he is confident they are suffering not from poisoning, but from mass hysteria, also called mass psychogenic illness.
Simon Wessely thinks that diagnosis seems entirely plausible. He is a professor of psychiatry at Kings College London and at the Maudsley Hospital. He has studied the phenomenon of mass hysteria and he was in London, England.
Mass Hysteria in Upstate New York - Our Bodies, Our Selves
Now it's not only worried parents of the afflicted teens who are questioning the diagnosis of hysteria. Judy Norsigian is the co-founder and executive director of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the groundbreaking not-for-profit group that has been advocating for women's health since 1970. Judy Norsigian was in Boston.
This half-hour was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath and Shannon Higgins.
Other segments from today's show: