Would It Kill This Girl to Brush Her Hair? Actually, Yes. (Updated)

Ever heard of Hair Brushing Syndrome? Sounds like bullshit, right? But it's actually a rare condition that effectively makes you have a toxic reaction to static electricity, and could indeed end your life. Balloons are the enemy!

13-year-old Megan Stewart's condition was discovered back in 2008 when her mother was brushing her hair to get her ready for school. Suddenly, Megan keeled over and her lips turned blue. After she was rushed to the hospital doctors eventually diagnosed her with this extremely rare condition. It's so rare that the docs had only heard of one other case and nobody is 100% sure how it works. One theory is that static electricity can build up in her internal organs (such as her lungs) and cause seizures.

How the hell do you avoid static electricity your whole life? You would have to be damp and soggy all the time (indeed, she can only comb her hair when it's wet). You could never know the pleasure of wearing silk pants. You could never scuff your feet on the carpet and shock your sibling. You should probably just avoid Colorado altogether. Despite all of that, she appears to be a pretty happy, average young lady. I'm going to knit her a sweater made of anti-static dryer-sheets. [Daily Mail]

UPDATE: When I'm almost certainly wrong, I don't mind admitting it (much). Below, commenter jdale, quoted a something from a previous commenter RishiRishi, and I decided to dig into it. Long story short, it does indeed apear to me that this is a case of bad doctoring and poor diagnosing. The explanation for Megan's seizure is almost certainly Hair-Combing Syncope, and not Hair Brushing Syndrome, which I now suspect doesn't really exist. We at Gizmodo try to always do thorough research, but sometimes we do make mistakes, especially before our coffee has kicked in. Thank you, commenters, for keeping us honest.


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