Skip to comments.Scrooge 'was a victim of brain disease'
Posted on 12/23/2006 7:22:49 PM PST by MadIvan
IT WAS the night before Christmas and Ebenezer Scrooge was facing a succession of supernatural terrors; or, as the latest medical thinking would have it, he was succumbing to a brain disease so obscure that doctors would not give it a name for another 150 years.
A pair of medico-literary sleuths claimed last week to have tracked down the illness that haunted Scrooge. They concluded that Charles Dickens brilliantly observed the symptoms in A Christmas Carol.
Robert Chance Algar, a Californian neurologist, and his aunt Lisa Saunders, a medical writer and physician, believe that the affliction that made Scrooge a byword for miserliness and redemption was Lewy body dementia (LBD), a disease so complex that doctors did not include it in the medical lexicon until 1996.
A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, presents readers with a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner who dismisses the festivities as humbug until he is visited by ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. The spirits open his eyes and transform him into a philanthropist.
Scrooge himself appears to blame food poisoning for his experiences, telling Jacob Marleys ghost that he is merely an undigested bit of beef . . . there is more of gravy than the grave about you. But that is before the ghosts of Christmas enter his cold bedroom.
Algar thought at first that Scrooge was in the grip of depression or a bipolar disorder, yet neither would explain his ghostly visitors. All the events described in the story fit a person suffering from the early stages of LBD, he said.
LBD is similar to both Alzheimers and Parkinsons. Dickens says, The cold within him froze his old features and stiffened his gait, and he also suffers from tremors. But for me the most telling symptom is the ghosts, said Algar.
In the early stage of the illness, people undergo vivid hallucinations, often involving old friends or family members. And such experiences can cause a dramatic shift in perspectives.
John Fowler, a Dickens scholar, said: Behind his grotesque exaggerations, Dickens sharply observed social trends and foibles. But I didnt appreciate how sharp-eyed he was on sickness as well.
OMG are you kidding Sunday UK times LOL!
I thought Scooge was just bastard
It was a brilliant Christmas story that has endured the years. Anyone reading anything more into it are nuts themselves.
I just watched the "Blackadder Christmas Carol".
I like that one much better. Nice guys finish last.
I thought he was dropping acid.
And all these years I just thought it was a fictional book.
On Friday night I watching Chrismas episode Are you being served LOL
Memo to Dr. Robert Chance Algar: put a sock in it, you arrogant publicity seeker... you are dead wrong. Lewy body dementia has symptoms of drowsiness, lethargy, lengthy periods of time spent staring into space, and disorganized speech... none of which were shown by Scrooge.
Scrooge did show signs of mental illness after his "visions".
This reminds me of some hacks from UCSD who "diagnosed"
Samson with antisocial personality disorder a few years back.
Since when is Charles Dickens a Psychiatric clinician? He wrote a story about a man who had turned cold toward humanity because of past experiences, and recovered from the error of his ways.
Why is it so hard for some to accept that people can have supernatural (i.e. spiritual) experinces and be completely healthy. Why must some constantly replace the spiritual with the secular and attempt to explain the miraculous with the mundane. Dickens wasn't describing a medical condition, he was depicting a change of heart.
Ives, I wish Drs. Algar and Saunders a visit from their own personal Jacob Marley(s) for Christmas.
Well, at least they aren't "debunking" the Christian religion. If they want to play the "the miracle was really a mental illness/illusion/legend/result of two sparrows flying from Africa with a coconut" game with a fictional character instead of my Lord, they're welcome to it.
Well just dang!! Do you mean that you didn't know that fictional characters can have illnesses? I didn't relize that either, so now we are both better educated.
"I dont know, it must have been the doses..."
You've got to be kidding me
These people really need to get a life
Well according to this dude .. Scourge was just a victim of circumstances beyond his control
I'm still rolling my eyes at this article
Well, that's a fun article... is it supposed to be? Do these people want others to disregard their profession, or what?
Are these the same people who recently determined that Mad Man Mohammed's "visions" were the result of brain disease as well?
Next they will claim that ALL capitalists have brain disease.
I liked it better when they had covers that looked like this:
He had low self-esteem and an eating disorder, too. LOL!
now Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener, there's a true case study.
Scrooge was a liberal?
Too funny... I had a bit of undigested beef once, but didn't get any visits from the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future.
Although I did see the musical performed a month ago. If the ghost of Christmas past looked anything like the woman who appeared on stage, and visited me in my bed chambers, I would gladly go with her anywhere! ; )
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