Cheerleader who supposedly got dystonia from flu vaccine is "cured" and has a website.

I haven’t seen anything here on Desiree Jennings. Desiree Jennings works in marketing and was trying out to be a Redskins Cheerleader. She supposedly had dystonia caused by a flu shot, which left her unable to walk except if she walked backwards. At least, that’s how it was reported by the media even though she’s the only reported case, and doctors believed it was psychogenic. Here’s the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh5F5wP8RdU

Well, now she’s on the road to recovery. (Youtube vid) Thankfully her illness lasted only long enough for her to get into the national news. She’s getting better, and she also has a suspiciously professional-looking website that talks about her case, which is sponsored by a company that sells hyperbaric chambers, and also links to her doctor who is a quack who injects people with urine. http://www.desireejennings.com

This article lays it out pretty well: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/11/desiree_jennings_cured.php?utm_source=networkbanner&utm_medium=link

I sent an email to the NBC Washington TV station since they’re the first hit if you Google her name, and also the Washington Post and Inside Edition. Hopefully someone will do some sort of follow-up. If nothing else, at least maybe the people who believed this wouldn’t believe her thing was permanent.

As a med student rotating through Neurology, I learned that many “neurologic” conditions are in fact psychiatric problems. Half of a neurologist’s job is sorting out what neurologic problems can be explained by a legitimate spinal cord/brain lesion versus which are really mental problems.
These people may truly believe and perceive that something is wrong with their body…it kind of makes sense that a brain that is malfunctioning in the psychiatric sense would cause the person to believe they have a problem with how their brain controls their body.
The real shame is that so many people in the media are so ignorant of science and medicine that they take these claims at face value, and if a doctor who isn’t involved in the case is interviewed at all about the dubious cases then they are mentioned only in passing.
I remember reading about a case of supposed amnesia in a young lady that (just from what I know from a basic overview of neurology) set off several warning bells that made me think that it was more of a psychiatric/attention-seeking thing than legitimate amnesia, but the media reported it as if of course it was legitimate. They don’t know any better, after all.

Wow, the media is really falling all over themselves to talk about this aspect of the “ZOMYGOD flu shot give cheerleader wacked out symptoms!” story, huh?

<crickets>

Leaving aside the diagnosis of dystonia (which does in fact look to be psychosomatic), all sources report that she got sick 10 days after she was vaccinated! How long after getting a shot are you still allowed to blame stuff on it? Surely there are a million other ways you could contract any given illness over 10 days.

1 in 36.525 illnesses must be caused by yearly vaccinations.

Wow. What a crock. I called in my mom (a doctor) to watch the first video and her diagnosis was, “She crazy.” If there really is something physically, as opposed to mentally, wrong with this woman, I will eat my hat. Why do people with no medical background think they can fool doctors? They went to school for a bajillion years for this stuff. They know when you’re faking.

My wife refused to drink tomato juice for years because she drank a glass of tomato juice for breakfast and later that same day had to be rushed to the hospital to have her appendix removed. Obviously tomato juice causes acute appendicitis.

An antivax group (Generation Rescue) is providing funding to promote this story. Antivaxers have been falling all over themselves to use this woman as an example of the Evils of Vaccines.

I was suspicious from the get-go about the story, but what’s most telling is that Jennings supposedly started improving right in the quack doctor’s office shortly after he started administering chelation. There’s no way in the world you’d start getting “cured” of “mercury toxicity” that fast.

Desiree Jennings’ symptoms quite likely are real enough to her and I don’t doubt she’s had a rough time. I also think it’s extremely unlikely that she had a vaccine reaction, that most or all of her problems are psychogenic and that she’s being disgustingly exploited by antivaxers.

Here’s more on the quack that’s treating her.

When Howard Carter died 17 years after opening Tutankhamen’s tomb, people claimed this was ‘evidence’ that there was a curse on the tomb. :smack:

And just how many appendices does your wife have that she would be worried about it after the first time?:smiley:

I tried pointing out the logical fallacy of this on several occasions. Particularly because I liked tomato juice, and I still have my appendix.

Well if there’s nothing wrong with tomato juice, why did she have to have her appendix removed? Hmm, smart guy?

Well exactly - no tom juice for you if you want to keep it.

I wonder if V-8 counts? Because I drink V-8 all the time.

OK, first I’ll say the would-be cheerleader in the OP is clearly a whack-job, and probably emails regularly with Jenny McCarthy.

Second, I’ll say this in your wife’s defense: if I get violently ill after eating/drinking a particular food, even if I know it’s not the food that made me ill, it’s often a long time before I can stomach that food again! Once, a couple hours after eating my Mom’s spaghetti, I got sick with a kidney stone. I always get physically ill with a stone. All I could taste on “the return trip”, so to speak, was the Italian sausage from the spaghetti sauce. I knew damn well it wasn’t the spaghetti sauce that made me vomit, but it was years before I could stand to eat Italian sausage again!

Yeah, I had a friend that ate Chick-fil-a before developing a serious bacterial infection 8 years ago that caused a lot of vomiting and she still can’t eat Chick-fil-a. She knows it wasn’t caused by the chicken sandwich but the taste and smell make her ill because they remind her of being so incredibly sick.

I can see that. When I was in college I once got drunk on apple wine; I had done so before with no ill effects, but for some reason this time I woke up with one of my rare hangovers. The next morning I was in the cafeteria having breakfast and just as I was about to take a sip of apple juice one of the friends I had been drinking with the night before made a comment about “still having some of that apple wine left over from last night.” I slowly put my glass down, and it was years before I could stomach the idea of drinking apple juice. Eventually I got over it, however.

for the record, I would still eat Chick-fil-a even if it reminded me of vomit.

Nevermind…I should have read ALL the responses. My spinach woes are redundant.

I have nothing new to add regarding the loony toons cheerleader except to wonder if she did her own makeup in the first video.

Yep. That’s what I thought too. My mother-in-law has dystonia in her neck, and while she’s hardly representative of all dystonia cases, I looked at this chicky’s “illness” and couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity. The problem with her legs also gave her a speech impediment? And it all mysteriously went away when she started running? Who the hell believes this crap? Dystonia doesn’t work like that! And what’s her agenda that she wants to blame it on the flu vaccine? Unless she’s another “ZOMG it gives the autizim!” nutter or wanted to turn this into a stump for the pee doctor all along.