Think exorcist-like psychotic episodes, which spiral into metabolic meltdowns, think ovarian tumours with brain tissue, hair and teeth. The human body is one amazingly complex and sometimes terrifying thing.
While parts of the report make for difficult listening I really do think it is well worth listening to. It’s quite an amazing story for the complexity of the illness itself and also for the amazing skill and quick (and lateral!) thinking of certain health specialists involved.
This is the blurb for the special feature:
A mysterious and often life threatening disease affects the lives of mostly young women. These patients often end up in psychiatric hospitals misdiagnosed or in intensive care units with bizarre behaviour and metabolic meltdown. It’s been discovered that these patients had a benign tumour in the ovary called teratoma. A teratoma can contain teeth, hair and most significantly for the women suffering from this condition, brain tissue. The body sees this tumour like a foreign type of tissue and mounts an attack, an immune response against these brain cells that are in the tumour. However, the immunological system is tricked and not only goes against the tumour, but is also misdirected against the brain of the patients.
Transcript available at Mystery illness – ovarian teratoma associated encephalitis – Health Report – 6 June 2011.