Doctors couldn’t explain this 16-year-old’s bizarre neurological and psychiatric symptoms.
Rebecca Ruiz, 01.13.10, 04:00 PM EST
New York University neurologist Souhel Najjar specializes in solving puzzling cases that other doctors have given up on. Last August he took on one of the most challenging cases of his career.
He saw a 19-year-old girl who had been an honor student before experiencing a bizarre decline that caused her to drop out of school a year later. Five neurologists, a speech pathologist and three psychiatrists failed to figure out the source of the problem, even as the girl suffered hallucinations, strange trances and severe learning problems.
The trouble began in the spring of 2007, when the girl was a 16-year-old high school student. One evening at a dance performance she froze in place.
In June a speech pathologist agreed that her cognitive skills were severely compromised but couldn’t attribute it to a learning disorder.
Soon she became catatonic and unresponsive in class and had difficulty reading. Her grades plummeted. Classmates sometimes found her in the bathroom repetitively pulling on the paper towel dispenser for long periods of time. The right side of her face drooped. “She would often come home from school crying because she felt ridiculed and humiliated,” says her mother.
A school psychologist, who felt the girl was mentally disturbed, argued that she should undergo counseling.When her mother declined the counseling and failed to deliver a report from an independent neurologist–an office fire caused delays–the school referred the mother to the child protective services for medical neglect. “They complained that she was ‘faking it,'” says the mother, who wants to remain anonymous.
Is this a potentially undiagnosed adverse reaction to the HPV vaccines? How many more girls are suffering like this w/o physician knowledge of their cause of their medical mystery illness.
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