One hundred years ago: Nijinsky and the origins of schizophrenia.
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Fernandez-Egea, E. (2019). One hundred years ago: Nijinsky and the origins of schizophrenia.. Brain, 142 (1), 220-226. https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awy262
A footpath in the Square de la Tour Saint-Jacques in Paris is named for the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (1889–1950). It was in the nearby Théâtre du Châtelet that the ‘God of Dance’ astounded audiences and scandalized critics with his pioneering choreography. However, it would not last—in March 1919, Nijinsky was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and the world lost the art of its greatest dancer. His case captured the interest of clinicians and the general public during the first half of the 20th century. An acquaintance with royalty, politicians and leading artists, he became a case for some of the most renowned psychiatrists of the day, including Bleuler, Binswanger, Wagner-Jauregg, Jung, Adler and Sakel. However, this is not merely a case of historical interest. Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which premorbid motor and intellectual abnormalities are present before the onset of psychosis, which generally occurs in late adolescence; but Nijinsky was aged 30 at the time of his diagnosis and had arguably the most finely tuned motor skills in history. Here, his case is revisited, and discussed through the prism of novel pathophysiological mechanisms.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awy262
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/290913