Wernicke's syndrome II
Wernicke's syndrome II refers to the painful psychogenic muscle cramp precipitated by anxiety or fear. It should not be confused with Wernicke's syndrome I which is the frequent condition of old age marked by defective memory, loss of sense of location, and disorientation with confabulation. The condition was first described by the notable German neurologist Carl Wernicke in his seminal work Ein Fall von Crampus-Neurose.
Wernicke discovered the syndrome though his work with a patient known as Gerda S. who had an acute fear of pencil shavings which had a deleterious affect on her work as a clerk in the German electronics company Siemens. Although he achieved a partial cure through the use of high-frequency low-voltage signal applied to the temples (which he demonstrated in a lecture at the University of Wrocław in May 1904) Gerda S. eventually committed suicide. It is thought that this tragedy was a contributing factor to his fatal bicycle accident with a tram in the town of Dörrberg im Geratal in 1905.
Notes & references
- Published by Berliner klinische Wochenschrift, 1904
- Companion to Clinical Neurology by William Pryse-Phillips, Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition, 2003