Those whose hands curl into painful seizures when they scribble for too long or too fast could once tell themselves, "I scribbled for too long or too fast," and let it go at that. Now, for the syndrome-inclined, comes thrilling news: Writer's cramp, we learn, is associated with its very own brain abnormality. Read on. This could be you.
The news, published in the journal Neurology, emerged from a study in which 30 people who suffered from serious cases of writer's cramp had their brains scanned then compared with the brains of people who didn't suffer from the condition.
Results? The brains of the writer's cramp group had, on average, less gray matter in three parts of the brain: the cerebellum, thalamus and sensorimotor cortex.
"It's not clear whether these abnormalities are a cause or a result of the disease," said study author Dr. Stphanie Lehricy, of Paris, in a press release describing the study.
It should be pointed out that the people in this study had serious cases of writer's cramp, not your common-or-garden twinge after scribbling out a letter to a friend, if anyone ever does that any more. But for every syndrome these days, there is a shadow syndrome, so could those who suffer cramp less severely also have a little bit of gray matter missing?
Brain-imaging studies are interesting, but, similar to whole body scans, they do serve to further the hypochondriac within -- and some of us need no encouragement. Me, I sometimes get this sharp, throbbing pain in the left side of my temple, and I imagine, but do not know, that I have some abnormality -- perhaps a huge network of overgrown blood vessels in my head, or a giant vacuole of fluid squeezing just the teeniest layer of brain tissue against the inner edge of the skull. "She lived to be 93!" they'll exclaim, when I'm dead and my brain has been dedicated to science. "How is that possible?" Let it stay a secret till then.
Because, after all this imagining, it'd be kind of disappointing if it turned out to be normal.
-- Rosie MestelCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times