Did you know Snow White’s “Dopey” had epilepsy?

Epilepsy Talk

No he wasn’t dumb…slow…or retarded. “Dopey” had a condition known as Angelman syndrome (AS).

Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurogenetic disorder (prevalence 1/12000),characterized by developmental delay, virtual absence of speech, peculiar organization of movement, characteristic facial features, sleep disturbances, seizures, and despite all that, a happy demeanor.

The condition was first known as “Happy puppet syndrome”.

Although this syndrome was first described by Harry Angelman in 1965,it was Walt Disney who presented an original depiction of Angelman syndrome in his first full-length animated film.

You could say that “Dopey” put Angelman syndrome on the map! Even though relatively few people knew about this obscure form of epilepsy, even today.

If you review his character, you’ll find an excellent (and sometimes innocent) picture of Angelman syndrome. Right down to “Dopey’s” occasional myoclonic jerks and tremors and a generalized clonic seizure while he was asleep.

Surprisingly, the character was NOT…

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