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June 1991

Literary Neurologic Syndromes: Alice in Wonderland

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Houston (Tex) Veteran's Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine.

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(6):649-651. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530180107025

• Many neurologic syndromes are named for literary characters. For example, the "Alice in Wonderland" syndrome of altered body perceptions, usually caused by migrainous ischemia, is so called because of the resemblance of its symptoms to the fluctuations in size and shape that plague the main character in Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice in Wonderland. The medical symptoms of distorted body images match the literary description so precisely that illustrations from the original book depict them very accurately. Because Lewis Carroll suffered from classic migraine headaches, scholars have speculated that he may have experienced this syndrome himself.

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