Jumping Frenchmen of Maine
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
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Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is an extremely rare disorder characterized by an unusually extreme startle reaction. The startle reaction is a natural occurrence. It is the normal, rapid, involuntary response to a sudden or unexpected stimulus (e.g., a sudden noise or sight). The exact cause of jumping Frenchmen of Maine is unknown. One theory is that the disorder occurs because of an extreme conditioned response to a particular situation influenced by cultural factors. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine was first identified during the late nineteenth century in Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec among an isolated population of lumberjacks of French Canadian descent. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is one of a group of culturally specific similar disorders, the startle-matching syndromes, which have been described from various parts of the world. The relationship among these disorders is unknown.
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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Last Updated: 3/12/2013
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