Monday, August 31, 2009

Key Opinion Leader Syndrome

I ran across a rather hilarious article from Medical Hypotheses, in which David Healy described "Krapelin-Fraud Syndrome", which I have also dubbed "Key Opinion Leader Syndrome." See below for the diagnostic criteria.

In line with current neo-Kraepelinian thinking, we put forward operational criteria for this new disorder for provisional inclusion in ICD-XI or DSM-V. An affected subject should meet at least 2 of criteria A–D and 2 more from criteria E–J. Fulfillment of all criteria A–D in the absence of any other features of the disorder will make the diagnosis, although this may represent a syndromal variant.
(A) A pervasive pattern of travelling to scientific conferences and talking about research data that he has had no involvement in generating.
(B) Episodic logosagnosia.
(C) Unusual abilities to compartmentalise information.
(D) Will have a significant number of ‘‘ghost-written” articles.
(E) Actively seeks admiration by peers and subordinates.
(F) An exaggerated sense of own talents, which can be inferred from expectations of recognition as an expert in the absence of commensurate achievements. Happy in the role of opinion leader.
(G) Has a sense of entitlement, i.e. unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment from symposium and congress organisers.
(H) Liable to profound dysphoria if not involved with the ‘‘academic action”.
(I) May be unreasonably envious of the scientific achievements of others and is liable to denigrate these. Would also be unhappy if his colleagues had appeared on ‘‘educational” videos and he had not.
(J) Is unaware of the disorder quality of the syndrome.
Two case studies are included, one of which reads in part:
One of the striking features of his lecturing is the dissociation between his reputation as a critical and skeptical lecturer when dealing with topics on the main programme of the meeting and the extent to which he may be prepared to offer apparently enthusiastic and uncritical endorsement for a compound in a satellite symposium. Very frequently this uncritical endorsement will involve the recycling of outdated ideas, which it is difficult to believe that either B or indeed many of his audience can conceivably believe and which indeed he may contradict within the hour at another symposium.
Hmmmm. Enthusiastic and uncritical endorsement of [insert product name here]. That reminds me of a post or two I've written... I made a rough list of symptoms for KOL Syndrome in July 2008. Different symptoms, but same idea.