Psychogenic Illness: When the Mind Creates Real Pain

WENCY LEUNG - The Globe & Mail - Kylee Taylor was distraught. For nearly two years, her teenage son, Kieran Porter, had seen multiple doctors and undergone countless medical tests, but none provided an answer for his alarming and mysterious illness.

Starting in December, 2009, at the age of 12, Kieran suddenly developed strange, uncontrollable muscle twitching in his limbs, which, almost overnight, progressed to full-body seizures. He suffered from unpredictable bouts of ballism (violent flinging of the limbs), dystonia (painful and debilitating muscle contractions), tremors and hypokinesia, in which his entire body would lock up, paralyzing him for several minutes to as long as two hours at a time. Even more bizarrely, these symptoms would change and disappear before flaring up again.


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