Could Environmental Contamination Result in Teen Tic Disorder?
Fifteen teenagers from Le Roy, NY
, have been diagnosed with conversion disorder
, "a condition in which a person has blindness, paralysis or other neurologic symptoms that cannot be explained by medical evaluation." The teens experience facial and body tics and verbal outbursts.
Environmental activist Erin Brochovich is investigating whether the condition can be linked to groundwater contamination. A derailed train spilled cyanide and trichloroethene 3 miles from Le Roy High School in 1970. All of the affected teenagers -- 14 girls and one boy -- attended the school when they started showing symptoms last fall. Two teens living 250 miles away but who passed through Le Roy on their way to a softball tournament in Ohio, have the same symptoms.
The New York Department of Health explained that the school is served by a public water system, and contamination would have affected more than just these students. Plus, the school was tested for volatile organic compounds by an independent company. Doctors also ruled out Pandas -- a neurological disorder linked to streptococcal infections -- and the Guardasil HPV vaccine.