They watched a YouTuber with Tourette’s disease-and then accepted his tics


Kirsten Müller-Vahl A big mystery in her hands. It was June 2019 and Mueller-Wal, a psychiatrist and director of the Tourette Clinic at the Hannover Medical School in Germany, was overwhelmed by convulsions, which was unlike anything she had seen before.

Not only is the tics complex in nature, involving several muscle groups, but even more strangely, the symptoms of the patients are very similar. “The symptoms are the same. Not only are they similar, but they are exactly the same,” she said. Although other doctors have formally diagnosed with Tourette’s disease, Muller-Wal, who has worked with patients with Tourette’s disease for 25 years, is convinced that this is another matter altogether. Then a student stood up, and she knew where she had seen those tics before.

All patients showed the same twitching behavior as a star on a popular YouTube channel. Thunderstorm on the head (Meaning “thunderstorm in the mind”) records the life of Jan Zimmermann, who is from Germany, suffering from Tourette’s disease, and 23 years old. The reason for the channel’s existence is to talk about Zimmermann’s disease publicly and humorously. It has proved to be very popular, accumulating more than 2 million subscribers in two years.

Some of Zimmermann’s tics are specific. You can often see phrases such as “Fliegende Haie” (flying sharks), “Long live Hitler”, “Du bist häßlich” (you are ugly) and “pommes” (potato chips). Other tics include smashing eggs and throwing pens at school.

Almost all patients who visit the Müller-Vahl clinic are imitating Zimmerman’s tics. Many people also refer to their condition as Gisela, which is the nickname for their condition by YouTubers. In her clinic, a total of about 50 patients showed symptoms similar to Zimmermann’s. Many patients readily admitted to watching his video. Zimmerman did not respond to a request for comment.

Müller-Vahl said that although the symptoms of Tourette’s disease are wide-ranging, similar symptoms tend to appear over and over again. Classic tics are usually simple, short and sudden. They are mainly located in the eyes, face or head, such as blinking, twitching and shrugging.The syndrome usually manifests in 6 years old, with Boys are more common——On average, three to four boys are better than one girl. She said that when you think of Tourette’s disease—an uncontrollable urge to speak bad words in public—what you think of is actually rare.

But if it’s not Tourette, what is it? According to Müller-Vahl, these patients actually suffer from functional dyskinesia or FMD. This may be similar to Tourette’s disease, but the latter has a neurological basis (although the underlying cause is not clear, it is thought to be related to abnormalities in brain regions such as the basal ganglia), and the cause of FMD is psychological. In FMD, the hardware is intact, but the software does not work, and in Tourette’s disease, the software works, but the hardware does not work. People with foot-and-mouth disease have the physical ability to control their bodies, but they lose control, leading to unconsciously abnormal behaviors.

For some patients, when Müller-Vahl explained that they were not Tourette’s disease, all their symptoms disappeared. For others, a course of psychotherapy significantly improved their symptoms. Nevertheless, the sheer number of patients with exactly the same symptoms puzzled Müller-Vahl and her colleagues.

Large-scale socially originated diseases-also known as massive mental illnesses or mass hysteria in history-spread like social viruses. However, pathogens and methods of infection are invisible, not sensible virus particles. Symptoms spread to disadvantaged groups through unconscious social imitation, and are thought to be caused by emotional distress. (It is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, although it is very similar to conversion disorder, which requires the “conversion” of emotional distress into physical symptoms.) Historically, the impact of large-scale socially-induced diseases on women More than men. The reason is not clear, but one hypothesis is that women generally tend to have higher levels of anxiety and depression, which may make them more susceptible to the disease.


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