Fun_People Archive
22 Feb
Chess tragedy points to Hyper-Cerebral Electrosis

Date: Thu, 22 Feb 96 19:56:33 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Chess tragedy points to Hyper-Cerebral Electrosis

Forwarded-by: (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: (Naren Chawla)
From: the Weekly World News (WWN) September 1995


Doctors are blaming a rare electrical imbalance in the brain for the
bizarre death of a chess player whose head literally exploded in the
middle of a championship game!

No one else was hurt in the fatal explosion but four players and three
officials at the Moscow Candidate Masters' Chess Championships were
sprayed with blood and brain matter when Nikolai Titov's head suddenly
blew apart.  Experts say he suffered from a condition called
Hyper-Cerebral Electrosis or HCE.

"He was deep in concentration with his eyes focused on the board," says
Titov's opponent, Vladimir Dobrynin. "All of a sudden his hands flew to
his temples and he screamed in pain. Everyone looked up from their games,
startled by the noise. Then, as if someone had put a bomb in his cranium,
his head popped like a firecracker."

Incredibly, Titiov's is not the first case in which a person's head has
spontaneously exploded. Five people are known to have died of HCE in the
last 25 years. The most recent death occurred just three years ago in
1991, when European psychic Barbara Nicole's skull burst. Miss Nicole's
story was reported by newspapers worldwide, including WWN. "HCE is an
extremely rare physical imbalance," said Dr. Anatoly Martinenko, famed
neurologist and expert on the human brain who did the autopsy on the
brilliant chess expert.  "It is a condition in which the circuits of the
brain become overloaded by the body's own electricity. The explosions
happen during periods of intense mental activity when lots of current is
surging through the brain. Victims are highly intelligent people with
great powers of concentration. Both Miss Nicole and Mr. Titov were intense
people who tended to keep those cerebral circuits overloaded. In a way it
could be said they were literally too smart for their own good."

Although Dr. Martinenko says there are probably many undiagnosed cases,
he hastens to add that very few people will die from HCE. "Most people
who have it will never know. At this point, medical science still doesn't
know much about HCE. And since fatalities are so rare it will probably be
years before research money becomes available."

In the meantime, the doctor urges people to take it easy and not think
too hard for long periods of time. "Take frequent relaxation breaks when
you're doing things that take lots of mental focus," he recommends.


Although HCE is very rare, it can kill. Dr. Martinenko says knowing you have
the condition can greatly improve your odds of surviving it. A "yes" answer
to any three of the following seven questions could mean that you have HCE:

1. Does your head sometimes ache when you think too hard?  (Head pain
   can indicate overloaded brain circuits.)
2. Do you ever hear a faint ringing or humming sound in your ears? (It
   could be the sound of electricity in the skull cavity.)
3. Do you sometimes find yourself unable to get a thought out of your
   head?  (This is a possible sign of too much electrical activity in
   the cerebral cortex.)
4. Do you spend more than five hours a day reading, balancing your
   checkbook, or other thoughtful activity?  (A common symptom of HCE
   is a tendency to over-use the brain.)
5. When you get angry or frustrated do you feel pressure in your temples?
   (Friends of people who died of HCE say the victims often complained of
   head pressure in times of strong emotion.)
6. Do you ever overeat on ice cream, doughnuts and other sweets?  (A
   craving for sugar is typical of people with too much electrical
   pressure in the cranium.)
7. Do you tend to analyze yourself too much? (HCE sufferers are often
   introspective, "over-thinking" their lives.)

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