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Kids & Teens

Question:

What is Alice in Wonderland Syndrome?

Expert:   Joshua Cohen, M.D., M.P.H. , St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center »

Those struck with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome experience a journey similar to Alice's when she fell down the rabbit hole. See for yourself what the mind-bending journey consists of!

Transcript: To be honest, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a pretty mind-bending condition--literally. This disorienting neurological disorder, also known as Todd’s syndrome, is really an exaggerated migraine aura that affects visual perception, hearing, the sense of touch, and body image. In other words, those struck with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome experience a journey similar to Alice’s when she fell down the rabbit hole. The temporary condition afflicts children more often than adults, and comes on at the beginning of a migraine -- just as an aura does. Researchers, looking inside the brain of children who were experiencing the syndrome, discovered that there were sudden increases in electrical activity in areas of the brain that control vision and that process texture, shape, and size. Fortunately, the syndrome becomes less common as children with migraines get older. It’s believed that Lewis Carroll suffered from migraines and was actually experiencing one when he wrote the timeless story. Since Alice in Wonderland Syndrome leaves a person unable to judge the size and length of everyday objects and distances, due to loss of vision or hallucinations as well as the origins of sounds and the ability to control their sense of touch -- Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole makes a little more sense. And as with most migraine-related issues, you should explore the most effective and safest treatment options with your doctor. More »

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