Topics » Health   Feb. 22, 2012

Are Oscars Nominees' Health Plots Accurate or Malpractice?

'War Horse'

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Photo: Dreamworks

'The Artist''The Descendants''Extremely Loud''War Horse''Midnight in Paris''Jane Eyre''The Help''A Cat in Paris''Hugo''The Iron Lady'

'War Horse'

Dr. Markel says: "This stunning film is about a rural British boy named Albert, his love for his horse, Joey, and his search the horse, who is sold to an officer about to leave for World War I.

"Toward the end of the film, Albert enlists and finds himself the victim of a gas bomb explosion. The trench fills with mustard gas, which blisters the lungs, exposed skin, and even the eyes. He is blinded. But shortly after reconnecting with his horse, Albert's eyesight is restored.

"Mustard gas causes eye irritation and swelling. Depending on the span of exposure, blindness can range from temporary (around 10 days) to permanent. Albert's case appears to be more protracted, suggesting his eye damage is severe, which does not coincide with temporary blindness.

"Another possibility is 'hysterical blindness,' where the individual experiences something so psychologically traumatic (e.g., watching your comrades killed in war) that distressing and repressed psychological symptoms converge into physical ones."

Photo Essay

Photo Essay