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Special Commentary
November 1968

The Whimsy Syndromes

Arch Intern Med. 1968;122(5):448-452. doi:10.1001/archinte.1968.00040010448015

The mere sight of the word bezoar on a printed page is usually enough to disrupt the orderly flow of reading traffic. Even cloaking its flamboyant Moorish figure in the sober Greek of the prefixes tricho- or phyto- may not provide sufficient camouflage to prevent such dyslexic traffic jams on Grub street. Imagine then the obstructive dyslexia that must have resulted in February of 1968 when, on p 339 of Surgery,1 readers encountered this exotic Moor in the company of the Rapunzel syndrome. It must easily have rivaled the consternation of the authors of the paper, Edwin D. Vaughn, Jr., MD, and his Vanderbilt colleagues, when they spied for the first time a tangled braid of hair protruding from the rectum of the second patient in their report.

Now, obstructive dyslexia is hardly an unknown clinical phenomenon in medical journalism, and it has as many etiologies as syntax, vocabulary, and