The Canadian Medical Association Journal has just published its traditional Christmas article which covers the lesser known diseases of popular culture. This year, the article tackles the scourge of cacophonopathology, a dreadful affliction caused by a disturbing reaction to music.
It notes that a particular form of the disorder affects fans of heavy metal:
A severe form of cacophonopathology, metallicus gravis, has also been identified among many of the misguided souls who followed the siren of cultura popularis. Victims of metallicus gravis attend mass gatherings to participate in this form of auditory abuse, which employs sound to numb rather than to enhance awareness. In its later stages, patients demonstrate involuntary movement disorders, such as caput metallicus (headbanging), florid hemiballismus (air guitar syndrome) and precipitous projectile collapse (crowd surfing).
Post-mortem findings include scarred cerebral gyri, which assume the texture of hard pebbles or rocks, diagnostic of dementia zeppelophilia plumbea. A related condition is black s*bbath excephalobaty (BSE), which features Ozzyform band degeneration and afflicts those who dismember flying rodents with their teeth.
The author suggests that a possible treatment might involve a slow immersion in classical music.
I, along with many others, have yet to be convinced by the evidence for this treatment, and tend to be guided by the trusted clinical maxim “a day without AC/DC is like a day without sunshine”.
I was reminded of the Journal’s fantastic Christmas tradition by Tom mailing me a wonderful article from 2004 about the neurology of Tintin’s possible hormonal problems.
The footnotes to the article are priceless, so have a look when you read the article.
Another past article took a neurodevelopmental approach to the pathologies of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends.
One of the best bits about these articles is the correspondence they generate. Letters are linked from the bottom of each article and as you can see, they can be a wonderful parody of medical argument and high-brow posturing.