Alien Dance Partner Syndrome

Dr. Michael Mosley of the BBC reports, Alien Hand Syndrome sees woman attacked by her own hand:

55-year-old Karen Byrne in New Jersey … suffers from Alien Hand Syndrome.

Her left hand, and occasionally her left leg, behaves as if it were under the control of an alien intelligence.

I thought that condition must be very rare, but then I saw that it also afflicts Russian dancers (Inga Savitskaya, Moscow 2004):

  1. These items reminded me of the YouTube video about a “Dog’s Own Leg Tries To Steal Bone”. The video is just under 1 minute.

  2. Hi Paul,

    Totally off topic, but I wanted to ask you a question about vitamin E. According to analysis of my diet, I’m consistently not getting even 45% of the RDA on PHD.

    One of the conclusions of the Lyon diet-heart trial was that when PUFA is low, the need for vitamin E is lower too. But I have seen that justification for low levels of vitamin C when not eating that much sugar and I know the improvements that have happened from adding in a 1g supplements despite eating little to no sugar.

    I know you mention in the book that vitamin E supplementation has the potential to be harmful, but as far as I know those trials that showed harm were based on synthetic versions of E, not D-Alpha-Tocopherols. Do you think that supplementing D-alpha-tocopherol would be beneficial if I am not meeting the RDA?

  3. Hi Sarah,

    Well, first, are you taking a multivitamin? Our multi has 50 IU (33 mg) alpha tocopherol which is 167% of the RDA. We do recommend taking a multi.

    It’s not only the Lyon trial that shows that vitamin E needs scale with omega-6 intake. In all natural plants and animals, vitamin E levels tend to be proportional to omega-6. Biologically, protection against lipid peroxidation seems to be E’s main function. So a low-omega-6 diet will naturally lead to low E intake, but I wouldn’t worry: the E in food is close to the amount you need, whatever diet you eat, and the bit extra in the multivitamin should be sufficient.

    The NHANES data says that average US intake of E from food is 6.3 mg/day for women and 7.8 mg/day for men; I would expect our diet to exceed that.

    There is some controversy over how robust the study findings of vitamin E toxicity are. See e.g.

    But I would still stick by the book’s recommendation to either be content with food + multivitamin, or to supplement only with low doses of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols.

    If you do decide to experiment with E supplementation and notice an effect, please let me know!

  4. Thanks Paul,

    That’s good to know. I just bought some d-alpha-tocopheral, 400IU. I might experiment for a month as I still suffer with poor skin and PMS.

    I don’t take a multivit as I’m pretty much hitting every other RDA bar D,K2, selenium, iodine and Mg, which I supplement.

    I’ll let you know how I get on!

  5. Sarah and Paul,

    Chris Masterjohn commented on the vitamin E RDA here:

  6. Hi Justin,

    Very interesting history from Chris!

    That does help resolve the conundrum of why Americans can eat 1/3 the RDA, and yet have their health worsen when they take supplements.

    I doubt the 50 IU in a multi is enough to be harmful, but I’m not sure about a 400 IU daily tablet. I would take that only once a week, if at all.

  7. Just thought I drop back into this thread to say that I am still taking the E. I went with Jarrow low dose mixed tocotrienols.

    FANTASTIC for PMS and skin. I think it’s helping speed up detox from too much n6.

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