THE PONTYPOOL CONDITION?
A few months ago I found a surprise gem on Netflix: Pontypool. It’s a good horror movie from 2008 directed by Bruce McDonald and written by Tony Burgess, based on his novel Pontypool Changes Everything.. the movie follows a few radio hosts in a small town where a strange virus begins robbing people of their ability to talk..
I thought of Pontypool today when I saw a very real and frightening headline about a syndrome that is doing the same thing as the unseen force in the horror movie: Robbing people not of memories but their ability to talk. Period..
How scary reality can be.
Read this from the Associated Press on the virus, being reported globally:
WASHINGTON (AP) — A mysterious brain disorder can be confused with early Alzheimer’s disease although it isn’t robbing patients of their memories but of the words to talk about them.
It’s called primary progressive aphasia, and researchers said Sunday they’re finding better ways to diagnose the little-known syndrome. That will help people whose thoughts are lucid but who are verbally locked in to get the right kind of care.
“I’m using a speech device to talk to you,” Robert Voogt of Virginia Beach, Virginia, said by playing a recording from a phone-sized assistive device at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “I have trouble speaking, but I can understand you.”
Even many doctors know little about this rare kind of aphasia, abbreviated PPA, but raising awareness is key to improve care — and because a new study is underway to try to slow the disease by electrically stimulating the affected brain region.
The virus wasn’t discovered until the 1980s. Obviously it has been around for time and studying is being done..
More from the AP;
Now 66, Voogt was diagnosed 10 years ago, with a form of PPA that makes him unable to say words even though he can understand and type them via email, text or his assistive device. He owns a brain-injury rehabilitation center, and knew how to track down a specialist for diagnosis when he first had trouble retrieving words.
Sunday, Voogt patiently answered Hillis’ questions by typing into a device called the MiniTalk, or calling up verbal phrases he’d pre-programmed into it. Asked to say “dog,” Voogt forced out only a garble. But asked what cowboys ride, he typed horses and the device “said” the word.
His form of PPA also impacts grammar so that he has difficulty forming full sentences, Hillis said. Asked to write that’s “it’s a cold day in Washington,” Voogt typed a minute or two and the device’s recorder emitted “cold Washington D.C.”
Voogt typed that he started relying on the device in 2012, but lives independently and travels internationally. But asked how difficult the loss of language is to live with, he typed out a pretty bad rating — 70 percent
Me calling this this Pontypool condition is not meant to be done to mock .. This is actually as disturbing and tragic as the plot of a horror flick..
A brain scan with the condition:
Pontypool in action