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December 1984

A Battered Doll

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY

Arch Neurol. 1984;41(12):1241. doi:10.1001/archneur.1984.04050230023010

This month, when millions of dolls will be given as gifts (without, we hope, the shortfalls and furor of last year), it seems appropriate to note the usefulness of dolls to medicine. In the 18th century, for instance, "Oriental 'doctor's dolls'... were used by noble ladies to avoid personal physical examination. The patient, concealed behind a screen, indicated the location of a pain on a doll that a servant would then show to the attending physician."1 In the contemporary practice of medicine, dolls with movable eyes are used as a referent to describe the eye movements of a person in coma. Roberts et al,2 in this issue of the Archives, have reviewed the mechanisms by which dolls' eyes and human eyes move, and indicated that some ambiguities arise from an analogy between systems that are really so different. To that extent, their contribution is useful and valid.

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