dreadlocks and mental disorders

Discussion in 'Dreadlocks' started by Hippie McRaver, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Hippie McRaver

    Hippie McRaver Senior Member

    British Journal of Psychiatry(1995), 166, 701—702
    Dreadlocks and Mental Disease

    Editorial
    An old argument and an early epidemiological study (1843)
    H. FORSTL and H. ELLIGER

    Enigmatic disease concepts are notoriously difficult
    to refute. The history of ‘¿trichomillau'strates the
    spectacular rise and silent vanishing of an obscure
    ailment once thought to be responsible for a large
    proportion of mental disturbances.
    Dreadlocks (convolutio et contricatio capillorum
    firmissima) formed the diagnostic sign of a disease
    called trichoma, plica polonica (Latin), kottun
    (Polish)and Weichsel-or Hexenzopf (‘witch
    plait'G;erman).Thisillneshsad been prevalenitn
    Poland during the late middle ages and Renaissance
    (Cromerius, 1558). Staringeius (1599), rector of the
    University of Zamosc, was the first Polish physician
    who wrote about this disease. Schlegel (1806)
    reviewed the literature of the following 200 years and
    listed 136papers, dissertations and monographs from
    different authors. The number of publications
    increased steadily until in 1843 Beschorner, director
    of the first asylum in Poland, published a large
    population-based study and could not substantiate
    the disease concept. This led to an immediate
    cessation of publications on the matter.
    Publicationsbefore 1843
    The symptoms and signs of trichoma were described
    as protean, a ‘¿chameleown'ith hardly two cases
    resembling one another (Matuszynski, 1832). The
    premonitory stage was believed to develop over a
    period of from six hours to several months with
    headaches, increased sensitivity to light, sound and
    touch, vertigo, tinnitus, pain in the eyes, ears, bones
    and joints, disturbances of sleep and appetite (pica),
    constipation or diarrhoea, etc. If the trichoma was
    cut off during this first phase, the unhealthy
    substances or ‘¿miasmaws'ere feared to attack
    other organs, causing melancholic, hypochondriacal,
    hysterical and epileptic states or encephalitis and
    meningitis. Fevers heralded the second stage of illness
    with a fully developed trichoma, which could then
    fall off spontaneously or be removed without a
    major risk for life or mental sanity (Wolfram, 1804;
    Schlegel, 1806).
    Different types of immature and mature, real or
    false, dry and humid trichoma were distinguished
    and it was accepted that similar phenomena could
    occur in dogs, oxen, sheep, wolves and foxes
    (Chromy, 1813). Even though the existence of this
    disease was not questioned, its nature was a subject
    of controversy. A hereditary transmission was
    proposed, because the real trichoma allegedly
    affected Polish and Jewish men after the age of six,
    but not women or foreigners (Schlegel, 1806). Other
    authors favouredthe contagious, infectious paradigm
    and thought that trichoma was a modified form of
    lepra, or syphilis or of another venereal ‘¿miasma'
    (Frank, 1788;Wolfram, 1804).A lack of cleanliness,
    and the obstruction of fine tubules in the hair due
    either to the constant use of fur hats or to shaving
    of the head, were discussed as modifying influences
    (Schlegel, 1806; Chromy, 1813). Matuszynski (1832)
    suggested that trichoma was the local and endemic
    crisis of a variety of acute or chronic diseases.
    Schlegel (1806) wrote that trichoma had a lethality
    of 5%, leaving45% of the affected crippledand with
    50% making a full recovery. He felt that trichoma
    was the true cause of up to 32 000 of 55000 deaths
    per year. The estimated prevalencewas 1:10 to 1:30
    (de la Fontaine, 1792; Schlegel, 1806).
    Beschorner'sepidemiologicalstudy
    Beschorner was the director of the first asylum in
    Poland and thought that a thorough scientific study
    of this matter was urgently needed, because —¿
    according to public and medical opinion - there was
    a close causal relationship between trichoma and
    mental illness (‘Irresein').He used data which had
    been solicited by Minutoli, the governor and police
    president of Posen in 1842.
    5327 cases of trichoma were identified, yielding
    a prevalence of 1:231 in a total population of
    1 233 850 in the county of Posen. Beschorner
    admitted that cases may have been missed and that
    the true prevalence was probably slightly higher,
    though ten times as great seemed most unlikely.
    2460 patientsweremale and 2687 werefemale, and
    therefore the male preponderance and the trans
    mission pattern suggested earlier could not be
    supported (de la Fontaine, 1792; Schlegel, 1806).
    Seventeen per cent of the reported cases were five
    years old or younger. This was considered as an
    argument against the venereal nature of trichoma and
    the opinion that trichoma would only develop after
    701
    702 FORSTL&ELLIGER
    the age of six was refuted. Eleven per cent of the
    cases were over 60 years old, corresponding to 26@@o
    of individualsin this age group. Only9% of the cases
    were children and adolescents between 10 and 20
    years. Beschorner hypothesised that a greater clean
    liness in this age group might contributeto this effect.
    Trichoma was more frequent in Catholics (1:170)
    than in Jews (1:264) or Protestants (1:849).
    Beschorner found that this was related to the ethnic
    background, with the Slavic [Catholici population
    being more frequently affected (1: 171) than the
    Jewish (1:264) or German [Lutherani people
    (1:730), and to the social status, with 90% of all
    reported cases coming from the lowest socio
    economic class.
    Beschornerquestionetdhediagnostiscignificance
    of trichoma, because in 20°loof all individuals with
    this sign, no other signs or symptoms of illness were
    found.
    He questioned the idea of heredity or familiarity,
    because80% of the cases were sporadic. If more than
    one case per family was found, therewas often excess
    morbidity from other illnesses and the majority of
    family members would still be unaffected.
    Beschorner used 12 physically healthy chronic
    psychiatric in-patients to prove that trichoma was
    simply caused by the appropriate external conditions.
    The patients were not allowed to comb or brushtheir
    hair and had to wear tight caps. All of five women
    and two of seven men developed trichoma. He went
    one step beyond and inoculated specimens from
    trichoma patients into the scalp of other patients and
    could not observe a faster development of trichoma
    in the inoculated patients (an early example of the
    abuseof psychiatricin-patientsfor researchpurposes).
    He concluded that trichoma was not a disease sui
    generis and that it did not exert a significant effect
    on other illnesses. His results were immediately
    accepted by the scientific public (e.g. Rohnert, 1844).
    Comment
    Trichoma is one example of folk mythology
    intruding into medical science. In spite of its obscure
    nature, its presumedimportanceseemedto grow with
    an increasing number of publications about this
    topic. Most of the literature on trichoma is highly
    repetitive. A large number of dissertations simply
    combined previous publications without introducing
    any original thought and data. The concepts became
    more complex and confused. Trichoma was not only
    the external sign, but also the disease itself and also
    its remedy. Mental illness was its cause and its
    consequence.
    Empirical data were necessary to clarify the most
    fundamental issues regarding trichoma. With the
    introduction of the simple statistical methods of his
    time, Beschorner put an end to useless academic
    debates. Beschornerdemonstrated the insignificance
    of the presumed relationship between an individual
    symptom â€t”h¿e dreadlock - and its surmised causes
    and accompanying features, devaluating ratherthan
    falsifying the trichoma concept. The availability of
    novel methods or insights into medical science may
    lead to similarrevolutions, with concepts sinking into
    oblivion rather than clashing with new paradigms
    (Kuhn, 1962).

    Acknowledgement
    The preparation of the manuscript was supported by an H. & L.
    Schilling professorship to H.F.
    References
    BESCHORNER, F. (1843) Der Weichselzopf. Nach statistischen und
    physiologtschenBeziehungendargestellt.Breslau:F. Hirt.
    CHROMY,T. E. (1813) Neueste Ansichten des Weichselzopfes in
    seinerGrundursache.Freyberg:Craz & Gerlach.
    CROMERIUS, M. (1558) Polonia s. de Origine et Rebus Gestis
    Polonorum.Libr. XXX. Basle.
    @ Fo@ir@itmS,. (1792)Chirurgssch-medicinischAebhandlungen
    Polenbetreffend.Breslau.
    Fw@x, P. J. (1788) System einer vol!standigen medicinischen
    Polizey.IV. Vienna:Trattner.
    KUHN, T. S. (1962) The structure of scientific revolutions.
    Foundations of the Unity of Science,2, (2).
    MAruszYNsKl, J. (1832) Uber die Natur und Behandlung des
    WeichselzopfesU.niv. Tubingen(Diss.):Osiander.
    ROHNERT, C. F. A. (1844) De plica Polonica. Gryphia: F. 0.
    Kunike.
    SCHLEGEL, J. F. A. (1806) Uber die Ursachen des Weichselzopfes
    der Menschenund Thiere.Jena:J. C. 0. Gopferdt.
    STARINGEUULS. ,(1599)Epistolaad AcademiaPaduanamdePlica.
    WoLFR*i@i,J. G. (1804) Versuch überdie höchstwahrscheinlichen
    Ursachenund Entstehungdes Weichselzopfesnebst einer
    sicherenHeilungdesselben. Breslau:W. 0. Korn.
    H. Förstl,MD, Hanna Elliger, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim
    Correspondence: Dr H. Förstl,Central Institute of Mental Health, J5, 68159 Mannheim, Germany
    (First received 3 October 1994, final revision 2 November 1994, accepted 8 December 1994)
     
  2. kattoo13

    kattoo13 Member

    That looks WAY too long lol can you sum it up?
     
  3. Luxiebow

    Luxiebow Senior Member

    I agree,there is no way I'm reading that!no offense
     
  4. ~InTheSky~

    ~InTheSky~ Member

    I've just read it all and it still doesn't make too much sense..

    From what I gather it's saying there were mental patients who had to wear caps all the time and not brush their hair.. this was the cause of some disease called Trichoma or something which made them ill with headaches and stuff, and some really bad stuff and 50% of people made a full recovery with the rest dying or being left disabled.. But really they now think it was all some myth. I'm confused.
     
  5. ......what?
     
  6. pypes

    pypes Hot alien babes

    Tl;dr
     
  7. soaringeagle

    soaringeagle Senior Member

    basicly it says that anything they didnt undewrstand 200 years ago was labled a disease
    they saw some ppl had dreads and decided it must be a mental, illness thewy threw abunch of statisticsa out to pretend they knew what they were talking ablut then over years realized these staTISTICS MADE NO SENCE AT ALL AND THE DISEASE ITSELF PROBLY NEVER EXISTED TO BEGIN WITH
    MEANWHILE THEY LOCKS EM ALL UP IN ASSYLUMS TO STUDY THEM WHICH CAUSED 5% TO DIE EITHER FROM SUICIDES OR THE DEPLORABLE CONDITIONS OF THE ASSYLUMS BACK THEN (REMEMBER THIS WAS A TIME WHERE DRILLING HOLES IN YOUR SKULL TO RELEASE DEMONS WAS COMMON PRACTICE AND THE MENTALY ILL WERE TURTURED TO DEATH IN ATTEMJOTS TO CURE THEM..AND IF U ACCIDENTLY ATE THE WRONG MUSHROOM ..OR WERE SCARED OF THE DARK YOU COULD END UP IN AN ASSYLUM HAVING HOLES DRILLED IN YOUR HEAD (OR WORSE YET BEING BURNED AT THE STAKE FOR BEING WITCHES JUST CAUSE U KNEW WHICH HERB WOULD STOP BLEEDING) damn caps
    so as i was saying, this is a menrtal health study from the dark ages of mental health studies

    someone just got all excited cause it mentioned dreadlocks i guess
     
  8. Hippie McRaver

    Hippie McRaver Senior Member

    I did this to be provocative not insulting, I just thought it was interesting also im sorry for the poor translation, I got it form the PsychINFO ebsco database from the UMass Dartmouth library
     
  9. fallingsky

    fallingsky Member

    hah, it's a friday. I thought I was done with reading informative texts for the week...
    interesting? so... people with tight caps grew dreads and therefore had headaches?
    It was probably just the tight caps.
    ya know, I wore a large rubber band around my head for a few hours once, and it gave me a terrible headache. trichoma, perhaps?
     
  10. MoonDoggie

    MoonDoggie Member

    Umass Dartmouth for the win!!!!
     
  11. hippiehillbilly

    hippiehillbilly the old asshole

    i took the liberty of cleaning your post up and making it a little easier to read. i hope you dont mind. i think others will find it much easier on the eyes,i know i did..:)
    its still not perfect but that thing was a fucking mess lol and at least now its somewhat readable.
    interesting stuff..

     
  12. amybird

    amybird Senior Member

    Still takes up more space than it deserves :p Certainly a bit prettier though ;)
    Seems more interesting now it's less of an eye-sore
     
  13. Hippie McRaver

    Hippie McRaver Senior Member

    soaring eagle was right, this is the dark ages of psych, I just reviewed the sources and the earliest one is from 1599, and nothing past 1962, this seems like a very long collaboration of psychologist to basically say nothing interesting lol
     
  14. amybird

    amybird Senior Member

    Maybe look a little closer before copying and pasting anything Google threw up with the word dreadlocks in it ;)
     
  15. Hippie McRaver

    Hippie McRaver Senior Member

    no no this isnt google, this is from the ebsco data base from UMass, a scholarly journal collection used for existing research and for aiding in new research in any one field concerning mental health. But hey, it got people talking! :p
     
  16. amybird

    amybird Senior Member

    Lol sorry :p

    And despite all of the scientific and social progress that's been made since then, there is still enormous ignorance about dreads...like in that other thread about cutting off dreads for court. Seems so weird measured against all the efforts to abolish discrimination over race or which gender we choose to shag, and puts them into a rather odd perspective when some people still can't get over some tangled hair :confused:
     
  17. hippiehillbilly

    hippiehillbilly the old asshole

    Actually i find it very interesting.. People were classified as "mental", "not right", "feeble minded" etc in very peculiar ways.

    I have read quite a bit on eugenics in the last several months and right up into the last century someones dreads would have most likely had them classified as feeble minded and then tossed into an institution and sterilized. People who traveled too much were considered wayward in the 1920s and sterilized because of studies such as these. I am sure back in the day this document was a leading edge study and anyone that read it followed it as a new age science.

    It really is amazing to read back in time and learn how they pieced the medical world together and came up with conclusions. Hell even now sometimes the whole psychiatric world has some very wacked out ideas that most of us would find backwards or from the dark ages...
     
  18. amybird

    amybird Senior Member

    People are scary.
     
  19. Hippie McRaver

    Hippie McRaver Senior Member

    sterilized? really? that is horrific, but I guess it beats a lobotomy
    [​IMG]
     
  20. soaringeagle

    soaringeagle Senior Member

    remember they used to treat a fear of rats with a cage full of rsats bolted onto your head

    locking someone in a metal cage barely big enough to squat in then spinning the cage for days afyer days was a treatment for depression
    hpomosecuality was either caused by demons (religios view) or brain dammage (scientific view) one was treatted with excorsism (the lucky ones) yhe ptheres were locked away and tortued ..or steralized..
    well technicaly not steralozed..unicized i guess..chopped off forced to be sexless
     

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