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‘By a silken thread’: a cinematic narrative of stroke
  1. Susan O'Callaghan1,
  2. Desmond O'Neill2
  1. 1Registrar, Centre for Ageing, Neuroscience and the Humanities, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Consultant Physician in Geriatric and Stroke Medicine, Centre for Ageing, Neuroscience and the Humanities, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Professor D O'Neill, Centre for Ageing, Neuroscience and the Humanities, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin 24, Ireland; doneill{at}

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Although stroke is a common and devastating illness, it has suffered from relative neglect by society and in popular discourse. This is reflected in a very slender cinematic oeuvre involving stroke. The Diving bell and the butterfly is a notable exception but deals with a relatively rare, and extremely disabling, form of stroke—the locked-in syndrome. Until recently, no movie has eloquently covered the detrimental effects of stroke on not only the individual's physical and mental faculties but also the enormous emotional and interpersonal impacts. Indeed, without an awareness of this bigger picture, healthcare workers and students may focus in a relatively task oriented fashion on the patient and may lose sensitivity to the deep psychological and social impacts of the illness.

Katarina Peters' documentary film Am Seidenen Faden (Am Seidenen Faden: Salzgeber & Co Medien, 2007: German with English subtitles, 108 minutes—By a silken thread) not only serves to document her husband's recovery from stroke but also provides a raw and intimate glimpse into the complexities of their relationship following this life changing event. Through the …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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