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Winnie the Pooh-- neuropathology....melting our minds

Children's book steal sou
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03/10/2010 11:03 AM
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Winnie the Pooh-- neuropathology....melting our minds
[link to www.angelfire.com]

Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: a neurodevelopmental perspective on A.A. Milne [CMAJ - December 12, 2000]

Now we are sick

The Hundred Acre Wood is not as perfect as we thought.

Depression: Eeyore's traumatic tail amputation seems to be the cause.

Hyperactive: Tigger's risk taking behavior invovles the sampling of unknown substances. (hmm, I wonder of what sort these may be)

Needs Ritalin: Pooh has an eating disorder to go with his low self-esteem and attention deficit disorder

Gender Issues: Christopher Robin needs parents and academic help.

General Anxiety: Piglet's problems stem from emotional trauma.


Author: By Colin Nickerson (The Boston Globe) Date: 12/13/2000

MONTREAL - The world's most beloved bear has far more complex problems than an overfondness for honey.

Winnie-the-Pooh, argues an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, probably suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and needs to be put on a low-dose regimen of Ritalin as soon as possible.

"Pooh needs intervention," states the article based on a medical analysis by a group of Canadian pediatricians. "We feel drugs are in order." (Pooh on drugs...hmm, I won't even go there.)

The other inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood aren't in much better shape. Eeyore is in the grip of chronic depression. Piglet suffers from deep anxiety. Owl is dyslexic. Tigger is hyperactive. And Christopher Robin may be struggling with a gender-identity crisis.

The study is tongue-in-cheek, but the lead author, Dr. Sarah E. Shea, said the psychological assessment of the characters in A. A. Milne's classic Winnie-the-Pooh series reflects possibly serious conditions.

"These characters manifest some pretty significant disorder patterns," says Shea, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician in Halifax, Nova Scotia. "Sadly, the forest is not, in fact, a place of enchantment, but rather one of disenchantment, where neurodevelopmental and psychosocial problems go unrecognized and untreated."

This is only the latest poke at Pooh, whose bumbling but affable personality has been used to explain everything from leadership techniques to Taoism.

Perhaps it is only fitting that the psychological study was undertaken in Canada. Pooh hails originally from Manitoba - his character based partly on a real-life orphan bear found near Winnipeg, hence the name "Winnie."

"Generations of readers . . . have enjoyed these seemingly benign tales," states the paper in the December issue of the medical journal. "However, it is clear to our group of modern neurodevelopmentalists that these are in fact stories of seriously troubled individuals." (Don't burst my bubble! :o( )

Wielding the tools of their trade, the authors dissect the beloved bruin's case as most prominent.

"This unfortunate bear embodies the concept of comorbidity," contends the article, noting that Winnie's apparent attention deficit disorder is complicated by "perseveration on food and repetitive counting behaviors [raising] the diagnostic possibility of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder."

Shea adds: "We cannot but wonder how much richer Pooh's life might be were he to have a trial of low-dose stimulant medication."

Pooh's pal Piglet, meanwhile, is struggling with a generalized anxiety disorder whose symptoms include blushing and stammering, according to the study. An anti-panic medication, such as paroxetine (Paxil), might spare him the emotional trauma associated with attempting to trap heffalumps.

The mental afflictions of Pooh and Piglet are complicated by the "chronic dysthymia" of the dour and tailless donkey Eeyore.

"We do not have a sufficient history to diagnose this as an inherited endogenous depression or know whether some early trauma contributed to his chronic negativism," concede the doctors, suggesting that an antidepressant, probably fluoxetine, might be the medication for lifting Eeyore's blues.

Shea and her coauthors - Kevin Gordon, Ann Hawkins, Janet Kawchuk, and Donna Smith, all physicians specializing in developmental pediatrics or in neurology at Nova Scotia's Dalhousie University - had no trouble diagnosing poor Owl.

"Obviously bright, but dyslexic," the study states flatly. "His poignant attempts to cover up for his phonological deficits are similar to what we see day in and day out in others so afflicted."

Tigger is a tougher call.

Gregarious and affectionate he may be, the study notes. But he suffers from a "recurrent pattern of risk-taking behaviors," like clambering tall trees or ingesting haycorns and thistles.

The doctors disagree on the best treatment for taming the rowdy tiger, with some arguing for stimulant medication while the others felt a psychiatric sedative might be preferable.

Christopher Robin, the doctors agree, does not yet manifest any clear symptoms of a diagnosable condition. But the E.H. Shepard illustrations in the Milne books show a boy with a haircut and clothes that suggest "possible future gender identity issues." (Beth keeps silent on this one and refrains from a comment)

Also, the Canadian Medical Association Journal notes, "There is an obvious problem of a complete absence of parental supervision, not to mention the fact that this child is spending his time talking to animals."

A Dalhousie spokeswoman, Stacy Lewis, said Pooh aficionados and media from "all over the world" had called about the piece. She stressed that the university is not directly involved with the article.

Chris Castro, a spokeswoman for the Walt Disney Co., which has produced a series of animated films on Pooh, said she had not seen the article and therefore could not comment. "But it sounds like they are just having fun," she says.

Concludes Shea: "All of these characters have a touch of pathology in which intervention appears necessary. But we still love them."
Anonymous Coward
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06/15/2013 01:33 PM
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Re: Winnie the Pooh-- neuropathology....melting our minds
Toothless Nobody Dragon
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06/15/2013 01:36 PM
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Re: Winnie the Pooh-- neuropathology....melting our minds
a lady freemason told me that it is her favorite book of all times


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