12:00 PM EST, January 17, 2012
Twelve teenagers are at the center of a medical mystery. Why are twelve girls from an upstate New York high school suddenly suffering from uncontrollable body movements and verbal outbursts?
17-year-old Thera Sanchez's left arm flailed wildly as she and her friend Katie Krautwurst made a dramatic appearance with their moms on the Today show Tuesday.
"When these started, I was perfectly fine. I'm very angry. I'm very frustrated. No one is giving answers," said Sanchez.
The girls say they were perfectly fine until three months ago. That's when twelve girls began showing symptoms being compared to Tourette's Syndrome.
Sanchez said, "I just woke up and that's when the stuttering started."
Right after Sanchez had finished her Today show appearance an ambulance had to rush her to a hospital after she broke down right in the Rockefeller Center studio.
In one case of Tourette's Syndrome, a Montana man was in excruciating pain, his body contorting in agony, unable to control any of his movements, until he had electrodes implanted in his brain to help him lead a normal life.
In the case of the high school girls, health officials have ruled out possible causes like carbon monoxide and substance abuse. They held a meeting with worried parents to tell them the school is safe. One of the girls could be heard on the video of the meeting crying out uncontrollably.
Some experts believe the girls are the victims of a kind of mass hysteria, and that the underlying cause is psychological, caused by stress.
INSIDE EDITION asked psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere for his opinion about this medical mystery.
Gardere said, "There could some sort of psychological contagion where, either consciously or unconsciously, these girls are mimicking each other's symptoms."