It's Not My Fault – I Have a Rare Disease – Honest!

by DavalosMcCormack on September 10, 2009

Next time your boss, husband, wife or significant other says you are too lazy just tell them you can’t help it, that it’s a medical condition, and that you have scientific proof to back up your claim.

Strange as it may sound Australian scientists say there may be a medical reason for extreme laziness. They are calling the condition Motivational Deficiency Disorder. I’m serious. This was reported in a study in the prestigious British Medical Journal.

The researchers, from the University of Newcastle, say the problem may affect as many as one in five Australians and is characterized by overwhelming and debilitating apathy. Basically they can’t get up off the couch, and frankly they don’t care. In extreme cases Motivational Deficiency Disorder can be fatal, because people simply lose the motivation to breathe – no really, I’m not making this up, you can see for yourself by clicking here.

Anyway, this got me thinking about other unusual diseases out there that might come in handy when you are looking for something to explain your odd behavior.

One of my favorite is Foreign Accent Syndrome. It’s a very rare condition where you suddenly start talking with a foreign accent. It’s usually triggered by a trauma to the brain such as a blow to the head or minor stroke. It was first reported in World War Two when a Norwegian woman was struck on the head, and when she woke up she spoke with a German accent. As you can imagine this did not go down very well in a country occupied by Nazi Germany.

In a more recent case a woman from Yorkshire, England suffered a minor stroke and ended up speaking with a French accent. Wendy Hasnip did not speak French, and had only ever been there once, for a weekend trip to Paris.

Then there’s Dr. Strangelove Syndrome, named after the scientist in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie of the same name. In this condition a person’s hand takes on a life of its own, even in some cases turning violently against its owner. In one case a man from Scotland reportedly tried to strangle himself every night.

If you survive that, there is Landmark Agnosia. This condition leaves sufferers able to remember small details of a journey, such as the shape of a window, or the color of a door, but unable to remember large structures such as buildings. Even in neighborhoods they are familiar with they cannot memorize structures, so it always appears unfamiliar to them.

If you have forgotten a loved one’s birthday or your anniversary, try Capgras Syndrome. This very rare problem makes people believe that a loved one has been replaced by an imposter. In 1995 a couple in Wales were in a minor car crash. Afterwards the husband was convinced that his wife died in the accident, and that the woman who was living with him was a “double” impersonating her. While he did not show the “imposter” any affection, it apparently didn’t lead the couple to divorce. Which makes one wonder what their marriage was like before the accident.

If you scare easily, you may be suffering from the wonderfully named Jumping Frenchmen of Maine condition. It got its name because it was first noted in some French-Canadian lumberjacks in Maine. It’s characterized by being easily startled, flailing your arms and crying out and repeating words.

Another problem with a fabulous name is Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome. People suffering from this have a distorted sense of time, space and body image. In some cases other people appear to be tiny, or that their body shape has been altered in some way.

Finally, if all else fails, trying claiming to be suffering from walking corpse syndrome. In this condition people feel they have lost some body parts, even their soul, in some extreme cases they come to believe they are dead. Which could explain an awful lot about the people we elect to Congress.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: