Wednesday, January 19, 2011

George Clooney's face

I'm not sure I see it myself but George Clooney did indeed suffer from Bell's Palsy as a child and it is still visible around his right eye. The internets are not short on celebrity information:

While suffering from the malady – it went away within a year – his left eye closes and he is unable to eat or drink properly, earning the nickname Frankenstein. "That was the worst time of my life," he tells the Mirror in 2003. "You know how cruel kids can be. I was mocked and taunted, but the experience made me stronger." 

Clooney's middle school photograph gives little indication that he will later twice be named the sexiest man alive.

Strictly speaking a diagnosis of Bell's Palsy only applies when no specific cause can be identified (as appears to be the case with George Clooney). When a specific cause is identified the patient is no longer considered to have Bell's palsy. Because the facial nerves exit the skull through narrow holes anything that causes inflammation can act to block the transmission of nerve signals. Common causes of Bell palsy (which then ceases to be Bell's Palsy - how confusing) are tumors, strokes, head trauma and infections such as some herpes viruses and Lyme disease. Only if the cause remains unknown does the diagnosis of Bell's palsy, or idiopathic facial paralysis, apply. That's just fancy doctor speak for 'your face is paralyzed and we don't know why.'

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