Dystextia: Text Message Typos A Stroke Symptom? [TRANSCRIPT]

By Staff Reporter on December 26, 2012 10:03 PM EST

Stroke
Could "dystextia," or strange errors and typos in text messages, be one of the symptoms of a stroke? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Dystextia may be sort of a funny name for a new condition that isn't really an official name for anything, but its light-hearted and Twitter-trend-ready nomenclature belies its severity as doctors are now concluding that strange errors, patterns of speech, and typos in text messaging could be stroke symptoms-- signs that the person texting could be suffering from a severe, life-altering, threatening condition and in need of immediate help. The diagnosis of dystextia comes on the wake of a now viral, very strange, and downright eerie series of text messages sent by a young pregnant woman to her husband after leaving the doctor's office following a routine visit. Little did her husband know that the strange text messages he received from her were symptoms of a much more serious problem, and that the fate of his young wife's life was hanging in the balance.

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If you're still uncertain as to what dystextia entails, the text message transcript below will provide insight into this alarming new pseudo-condition that, though not official, could serve as the first warning sign that someone is suffering from a stroke. When the pregnant woman's husband hadn't heard from his wife concerning the status of her most recent visit to the doctor, he sent her a text which read "So what's the deal?" When the woman received his text, she quickly responded, and the first signs of her dystextia kicked in: "Every where thinging days niggling!" She added to her alarming and inadvertent text message typos that sound a little like a James Joyce pastiche, "Some is where!"Though one may have otherwise concluded that the woman was inebriated on narcotics, in retrospect, doctors now know that these text messages served as the first sign of the serious condition from which the woman was suffering.

Her shocked husband, who had never seen anything resembling the signs of dystextia which his wife was exhibiting, asked her, "What the hell does that mean? You're not making any sense." His wife, however, seemed to be on another plane entirely, and though the texts then went into a more coherent line of questioning wherein her husband asked her to clarify her due date by asking her if the baby was expected on July 24, she responded, "J 30." He clarified, "July 30?" presumably so as not to confuse the two months that both begin with J, and his wife answered in the affirmative. The dystextia, which is to say, the severely confused and immediately discernible mental state of his wife, was cause for serious concern from him, leading him to text her, "Oh ok. I'm worried about your confusing answers." To that, his wife ominously responded, "But I think... what I think with be fine."

The present, alarming, and frightening signs of dystetxia, coupled with weakness of the leg and arm that she reported during her doctor visit, and compounded with reported trouble that the woman had filling out the forms at the office, landed the pregnant woman in the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with dysphasia, or brain damage that leads to problems communicating with words. An MRI brain scan revealed that all the signs which included dystextia meant that the woman was suffering from a serious stroke.

"Aphasia is a common manifestation of a stroke, occurring in 21 percent to 38 percent of acute stroke patients," wrote a team of Harvard researchers in the dystextia study, "To our knowledge, this is the first report of aberrant text messaging being the presenting sign of acute ischemic stroke." According to Dr. Joshua Klein, one of the authors of the study on dystextia, it "[was the first clinical sign that we had that she was having a stroke... [and though it wasn't essential to diagnosing her], it was an unusual piece of data that fit with the other clinical findings." Dr. Klein concluded, "[Dystextia] helped us understand the nature of the problem."

Fortunately for the pregnant woman, she suffered no permanent damage and quickly regained her ability to text message her husband freely, without any of dystextia's most frightening signs. And as the context of one's inability to send text messages appropriately is most important to take into account for people who may be worrying about whether or not they have the most tech savvy of stroke symptoms, Dr. Klein asks that, before we all start to freak out about typos in our texting, we ask ourselves whether or not we're having problems formulating the words, trouble typing because our fingers are feeling fatigued, tingly, or numb, and if we've been suffering sudden vision loss. Only coupled with those things is dystextia cause for stroke alarm, in spite of the fact that the words we string together may disturb our recipients.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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