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CHOREA OR ST VITUS'S DANCE

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Causes and Symptoms: Chorea or St. Vitus's dance is the name applied to a disorder of the nervous system occurring for the most part in children and characterised by involuntary jerking movements of the muscles. It was given the name of St Vitus's dance because the worthy saint was supposed to possess the power of healing the malady. Chorea is the result of an involvement of the central nervous system. It is more common among girls than n boys. It rarely strikes children under three and only highly intelligent, ambitious but excitable children are subject to it.

It is characterised by involuntary, purposeless and uncoordinated movements, weakness of the voluntary movement, loss of precision in movement and psychological disturbances. The disease begins by an awkwardness in movement, the child being unable to keep still. The symptoms are aggravated when the child begins to make any purposive movement. The disorder may be noticed when the child starts dropping things without meaning in spite of his desire to handle them properly.

If the movements become too frequent and violent and if they are accompanied by insomnia, it is a grave sign because constant physical strain may lead to exhaustion and finally death.



Treatment: The patient must be given complete rest and should be spared excitement, grief and anxiety. If there is indigestion and constipation, steps should be taken to relieve them. The following medicines should be tried in cases of chorea:

Mundi (Sphaeranthus Hirtus) herb, which has not yet flowered, should be dried in the shade, powdered and sifted. Six mashas of the powder should be taken with one tola each of ghee and honey.

One tola of Musk Root (Balchhar) should be crushed and steeped overnight in 10 chhatanks of water. The supernatant water should be decanted into a bottle. Five tolas of it should be taken thrice in the day.

Three mashas of bark of Camel's Thistle Root (Oontkatara) dried in the shade and powdered should be licked with one tola of honey in the morning and evening to deal with shaking palsy of the hands. Three mashas of Pharbitis Seeds (Kaladana) should be swallowed every morning with water for three weeks to deal with palsy.

If chorea is due to excessive sexual intercourse, two half-boiled eggs taken in the morning together with protein rich diet otherwise would meet the case.

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