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Australian Scientists Discover New Disease

2006-03-31 07:19

Motivational deficiency disorder

Extreme laziness may have a medical basis, say a group of Australian scientists in this week's BMJ, as they describe a new condition called motivational deficiency disorder (MoDeD).

The condition is claimed to affect up to one in five Australians and is characterised by overwhelming and debilitating apathy. Neuroscientists at the University of Newcastle in Australia say that in severe cases motivational deficiency disorder can be fatal, because the condition reduces the motivation to breathe.

Neurologist Leth Argos is part of the team that has identified the disorder. "This disorder is poorly understood," he says. "It is underdiagnosed and undertreated."

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Trials of indolebant, a drug to help combat this condition, are underway and initial results are promising. "Indolebant is effective and well tolerated," adds Professor Argos. "One young man who could not leave his sofa is now working as an investment adviser in Sydney."

But some doctors are concerned that ordinary laziness is being medicalised, and have organised a conference on "disease mongering" at Newcastle University on 11-13 April 2006 (www.diseasemongering.org).

A study of the economic impacts of motivational deficiency disorder estimates the condition may be costing the Australian economy $A2.4bn (

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