thoughtomation

removing the "mis" from information

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why Nancy Can't Not Blink

Tardive dyskinesia?

Anyone who saw the video of the State of the Union (SOTU) speech can't help but wonder: what the heck was Nancy Pelosi jacked up on? This woman was blinking so much, her eyelids threatened to fly right off the asphalt. Some are calling it at 80 blinks a minute; I think that's maybe a bit high, but I'm fairly certain it was at least 55-60 in parts. The frame's inclusion of the slow-blinking, Mona Lisa-faced Cheney made Nancy's rapid flutterings even more dramatic.

Now I confess, my first reaction was to think that she was communicating with her Chinese masters in code, with the teething motions for punctuation. But once I realized that I couldn't prove it if it were, I settled in for something a little more reliable: this woman was "high as fuck", to use a random descriptor of a not unfamiliar condition.

Some have posited that her rapid blinking was a sign of deception; and indeed it often is. But if that were a significant factor here, then how is it that she was the only one afflicted in a room full of politicians? It wasn't even her turn to lie, and she couldn't have outdone the President that night if it were.

So I googled a bit for some answers. "drug rapid blink" was my search, and it turned up some very interesting things, including this article on seizures. It also taught me a new word: blepharospasm. (Say that five times fast. Now you've got it too.) It might be Meige's Syndrome - the mouth movements do lend themselves to that explanation - but that condition is exceedingly rare, and she would already have attempted to capitalize on it politically if it were, champion of the helpless and all that, when I ran across this:


In such cases, spasms of the eyelids are accompanied by jaw clenching or mouth opening, grimacing, and tongue protrusion. Blepharospasm can be induced by drugs, such as those used to treat Parkinson's disease. When it is due to antiparkinsonian drugs, reducing the dose alleviates the problem.


So Nancy may have Parkinson's, which is not beyond being a credible explanation. But there is yet another possible explanation: Tardive dyskinesia:


+ TD is a manifestation of chronic neuroleptic toxicity that is often permanent. It is characterized by involuntary repetitive movement of the lips and tongue (buccolingual dysplasia), limbs (choreoathetosis), and eyes (rapid blinking movements).

+ Older women are most susceptible to TD; however, it may occur at any age after 24 months of therapy.


But even better, from NIH:


Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological syndrome caused by the long-term use of neuroleptic drugs. Neuroleptic drugs are generally prescribed for psychiatric disorders, as well as for some gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. Tardive dyskinesia is characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements. Features of the disorder may include grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking, puckering and pursing, and rapid eye blinking.


Let's not forget Nancy is from San Francisco. Does Pelosi - our third in line of succession, after a President and Vice President that the Left has been chomping at the bit to see assassinated for years, have a condition that derives from long term use of drugs, to treat an underlying psychiatric condition too severe to reduce the dose? Or is it perhaps just a long term effect of heavy drug abuse? What are the implications of this for the condition of the rest of her brain?

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