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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 70  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 726--728

Neurological Disorders in Literary Fiction: A Single Author Case Series

Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) HGZ 2, CDMX, Mexico

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Juan M Marquez-Romero
Av. de los Conos 102, Fraccionamiento Ojo Caliente, Desarrollo Especial Ojocaliente, Aguascalientes - 20190
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.344636

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Background: Across literary fiction, allusions to medical ailments are common. However, in the bibliography of Stephen King, neurological disorders appear to be present disproportionately. Objective: The objective of this study is to describe the epidemiology of neurologic disorders depicted in the writings of Stephen King. Methods: This study presents data from Stephen King's 60 published novels. The frequency, prevalence, lethality, and mortality of each neurological diagnosis found in the characters that appear in the novels are reported. Results: Forty-eight novels portrayed at least one character with a neurological diagnosis, and in total, 150 characters exhibited a neurological condition. The overall prevalence was 111.2 per 1,000 characters. Their median age was 20 years (range 76), and 61.7% were males. Headache was the most common symptom (35.3%), followed by stroke symptoms in 28.7%. Prevalence was 24.5, 17.8 for headache and epilepsy, respectively. Lethality was 28.7%. The overall mortality rate was 31.9. Conclusions: The epidemiology described in Stephen King's novels parallels that of the real world. The depiction of neurological disorders found in his novels showcases the elevated contribution of neurological disorders to the global burden of the disease, an important message for the readers of his fiction and interest to all neurologists.


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