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Fasciculation anxiety syndrome in clinicians: FASICS
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  • Published on:
    Fasciculation anxiety syndrome in clinicians: The dreams in the witch house

    To the Editors,

    Being a sufferer of Benign Fasciculation Syndrome (BFS) for more than a year, I read with great interest Professor Kiernan’s editorial (1), as well as Dr. Vercueil’s personal account of his encounter with the syndrome (2). I was relieved to see how much the “clinical course” of my case corresponded to that described by Professor Kiernan and Dr. Vercueil. They surfaced during a period of stress and sleep-deprivation, and has since kept going.

    As Professor Kiernan writes, anything that increases central excitability can trigger fasciculations. This includes the fear that they form part of a prodrome to motor neuron disease (MND); a defining characteristic of Fasciculation Anxiety Syndrome in Clinicians (FASICS). Even though my diagnosis of BFS have been “confirmed” by an EMG and a neurologist, I still suffer from occasional episodes of FASICS exacerbations, surfacing like a recurrent nightmare according to its own inner logic. In other words, FASICS undoubtedly shares a quality with health anxiety, namely a jumbled relationship between symptoms and belief. The opening lines of H.P Lovecraft’s “The dreams in the witch house” captures this poetically; “Whether the dreams brought on the fever, or the fever brought on the dreams, Walter Gilman did not know”.

    After years of working in hospitals you will have encountered some rare cases where the etiology of a disease have followed a non-standard pathway. These can unconsciously skew your wo...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.

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