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The Edinburgh Neurology Book Club recently watched the movie adaptation of the French historical novel, ‘The Mad Women’s Ball’ by Victoria Mas. The film is set in the 19th century and follows the story of Eugénie, a woman who is forcibly brought to the Salpêtrière Hospital after claiming she can communicate with the dead. The film showcased her treatment alongside other fellow patients, many with hysteria, currently known as functional neurological disorder (FND).
The film sparked discussions among the book club members, who found it thought-provoking and recommended it to fellow neurologists and healthcare professionals. We reflected on the historical context of FND, which predominantly affects women,1 and its relevance to modern neurology. Further, we also pondered upon the role of Salpêtrière Hospital as a hub for studying hysteria both in the past and today, highlighting the importance of mentoring, collaboration and a culture that emphasises learning and research. …
Contributors VC wrote the main manuscript. KK and CW provided feedback on the manuscript and did major revisions.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.