SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 15, 2013

Letter: Look a little harder in hiccups case


The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

When you don’t know the cause, “It’s all in your head” is an easy, but ineffective, explanation. My friend’s psychosomatic headache turned out, in the end, to be fatal.

Before attributing the hiccups afflicting North Shore Tech and Essex Aggie students to contagious conversion disorder, respiratory and neurological factors should be rigorously investigated. Were the students exposed to an irritant in the athletic field or in other soils disturbed by the extensive construction? Methane in manure is one contaminant that has been linked to environmental pollution. Were the students’ immune systems compromised by previous bacterial or viral illness?

Strep, Lyme, mono and the flu are being studied in relation to the sudden and dramatic onset of obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

When hunting for a cause of the students’ vocal tics, the town formerly known as Salem Village should avoid like the plague any explanation that points a finger at mass hysterics.

Sally Ann Connolly

Danvers