Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Christmas Carol: a rationale

I'd normally save this topic until Christmas, but it seems too good to waste. Last Sunday's Independent carried an interesting news story:
A Brazilian man recovering from a stroke has turned into a philanthropist after damage to parts of his brain changed his personality in a way previously unheard of by doctors.

The 49-year-old senior manager of a large corporation found that he could not stop giving away money and spending cash liberally on sweets, food and drinks for children he met in the street. His wife told doctors her husband’s generosity had led to significant family distress and almost bankrupted them.

The man, referred to as Mr A, suffered a stroke triggered by high blood pressure. This led to bleeding in his subcortical region, an area immediately below the cerebral cortex, associated with higher-level thinking and decision-making.


Mr A told doctors he was aware of his behaviour and no longer wanted to work because he had “seen death close up (and) wanted to enjoy life which is too short”.

- Businessman suffers stroke, then can’t stop giving his money away, Janet Tappin Coelho, Rio de Janeiro, The Independent, Sunday 08 September 2013
That would be a nice rationale for Ebenezer Scrooge's personality change, following an overnight epiphany about life and death, in A Christmas Carol. I'm not the first to think of this (though this is the first example I've heard of with symptoms and circumstances matching the Dickens story): a stroke is one of the possibilities covered by Lisa Sanders, MD, in her December 17, 2006 New York Times article, Diagnosing with Dickens, though she ultimately settles on Lewy body dementia.

- Ray

No comments:

Post a Comment