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The Alice in Wonderland syndrome.

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Abstract

The Alice in Wonderland syndrome is a term applied to altered bizarre perceptions of size and shapes of a patient’s body and illusions of changes in the forms, dimensions, and motions of objects that a patient with this syndrome encounters. These metamorphopsias arise during complex partial seizures, migraine headaches, infections, and intoxications. The illusions and hallucinations resemble the strange phenomena that Alice experienced in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, whose nom de plume was Lewis Carroll, experienced metamorphopsias. He described them in the story that he wrote for Alice Liddell and her two sisters after he spun a tale about a long and strange dream that the fictional Alice had on a warm summer day. The author of this chapter suggests that Dodgson suffered from migraine headaches and used these experiences to weave an amusing tale for Alice Liddell. The chapter also discusses the neurology of mercury poisoning affecting the behavior of Mad Hatter character. The author suggests that the ever-somnolent Dormouse suffered from excessive daytime sleepiness due to obstructive sleep apnea.

© 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Prog Brain Res. 2013;206:143-56. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63364-4.00025-9. Biography; Historical Article; Portraits

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