Not Mass Hysteria
“What I think [it] is important that we show in this study is that we can have measurable, quantifiable evidence that something really happened,” said coauthor Carey D. Balaban, PhD, professor of otolaryngology, neurobiology, communication science and disorders, and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “It is not just hysteria.” He and his colleagues view this paper as a first important step in offering demonstrable criteria with well-established tests to distinguish people who present with the same exposure from those who present with something different.
Explore This IssueFebruary 2019
“That first step is the first clue we have to go on toward figuring out what sort of cause might there be for this so we can understand and control, mitigate, diagnose, and treat people properly,” he said.
He emphasized that no inferences can be drawn from this study as to what the cause may be.
He believes, however, that better understanding the cause should be an area of active research. As such, he is currently involved in research sponsored by the Office of Naval Research to get an idea of what the possibilities may be. “We’re not ready to rule anything out yet, but we want to find evidence to start ruling things out,” he said. “We have no favorite cause.”
Mary Beth Nierengarten is a freelance medical writer based in Minnesota.