- Zingerle's automatosis
- Also known as Zingerle syndrome. Both eponyms refer to the Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist Hermann Zingerle (1870-1935). Zingerle introduced the German neologism Automatose in or shortly before 1924 to denote a syndrome characterized by hallucinations and complex motor phenomena. The eponym Zingerle syndrome was introduced in his honour by the Swiss neurologist Georges de Morsier (1894-1982). The hallucinations occurring in the context of automato-sis were described by Zingerle as predominantly * scenic and * vestibular in nature. The motor phenomena (such as walking, crawling, compulsive posturing, torticollis, involuntary turning movements, choreo-athetotic movements, and myoclonus) were described by him as occurring either spontaneously or in response to specific provocation tests. In an experimental setting, involuntary turning movements could be evoked by him in some individuals by forcing them into an upright or reclining position, whereas in others choreo-athetotic movements could be evoked by exerting pressure on specific body parts. Moreover, Zingerle described the motor phenomena occurring in the context of automatosis as being intimately connected with the hallucinated scenes. As he wrote in 1925, "Lively sensory deceptions and dream-like scenic experiences occurred, not accidental ones, but ones that rather stood in close relation with the automatic movements and postural changes... Turning movements of the body, drawing oneself up to various bodily positions, entailed quite specific sensory deceptions of climbing, falling, swimming, turning around in a circle, and so on. These sensory deceptions, evoked by the automatic postural changes of the body, are the prevailing ones, from which the additional scenic hallucinations and experiences would seem to follow only secondarily." Etio-logically, Zingerle associated automatosis with medical conditions such as alcohol intoxication and neurosyphilis, as well as with non-organic or functional conditions which he designated as neuropathy. As to the pathophysiology of automato-sis, he envisaged a central role for "disinhibition phenomena due to sensory or motor disorders," and, in the so-called functional cases, "a lasting constitutional peculiarity of many neuropaths in whom we so often find lasting alterations of other reflexes as well." It has been suggested by the British neuroscientist Dominic H. ffytche that the neurobiological correlate of Zingerle's automatosis may be a parietal lesion involving vestibular, motor, and pulvino-cortical pathways. Conceptually as well as phenomeno-logically, Zingerle's automatosis is related to * automatisms.Referencesffytche, D.H. (2007). Visual hallucinatory syndromes: Past, present, and future. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 9, 173-189.Starobinski, J. (1983). Georges de Morsier (1894-1982). Gesnerus, 40, 335-338.Zingerle, H. (1925). Weitere Untersuchungen über Automatose. Journal für Psychologie und Neurologie, 31,400-418.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.