The Golden Age of Hysteria

The nineteenth century saw a gradual evolution in the clinical profile of hysteria from predominantly motor symptoms such as paralysis and fits to sensory symptoms such as headache, backache, fatigue and dizziness. By the end of the century, the classical

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A Brain-Centered Approach ROBE RT W. BA L OH

Medically Unexplained Symptoms

Robert W. Baloh

Medically Unexplained Symptoms A Brain-Centered Approach

Robert W. Baloh Department of Neurology University of California Los Angeles, CA USA

ISBN 978-3-030-59180-9    ISBN 978-3-030-59181-6 (eBook) © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Copernicus imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” William James


Over the ages, doctors have always struggled with patients whose symptoms have no clear medical explanation. Such patients challenge the most essential tenets of medicine. This is not a phenomenon buried in the distant past. All evidence suggests that patients with medically unexplained complaints are as frequent as ever, and maybe even more frequent. The only difference is that the disorders are given different names. As science advances, the cryptic disorders mutate and adapt to the new environment. They are memes that copy themselves with high fidelity and spread across the world, now very rapidly, facilitated by mass media. This is a major problem that causes untold disability and misery. Understanding the problem requires a deep knowledge of the history of medicine and the efforts that have been expended to understand and treat these disorders. Dr. Robert W. Baloh, a distinguished neurologist with special expertise in vestibular neurology, has had a long career helping patients with dizziness, one of the most prevalent of the symptoms

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