Oshtoran Syndrome meets Spider-Man: How a group of Iranian amateur researchers inadvertently influenced pop culture

Benjamin Davis, Daniel M. Levi, Rahul Gupta, Hamed Zahedi, Mohammad Shirazi, Samantha N. Smith
2022 Zenodo  
Student's research In 2016, documents describing a disease called "Oshtoran Syndrome" appeared in unusual places on the internet. Since the basic scientific standards were not met and some material appeared at least dubious, it remained unclear whether it was a hoax, a deliberate forgery with malicious intentions, or simply very bad science. Due to the political situation, it is only possible to establish trustworthy contacts into the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially as a Jewish
more » ... with utmost effort. However, in 2022, a reliable contact was finally made. This way our student research team gained access to the men who coined the term "Oshtoran Syndrome." The internet community was rightly critical of the alleged symptom, but internet-only research is by no means reliable enough. As students of a small Messianic Jewish university, detached from any political context, we set out to solve the mystery. For Oshtoran Syndrome had already found its way into pop culture via the Marvel comic game "Spider-Man PS4." The result: Oshtoran Syndrome has a kernel of truth, its confusing and unscientific definition is the result of a remarkable scientific inexperience of its descriptors, it is far from being sufficiently researched and even further from being scientifically acceptable. Nonetheless, by finding its way into pop culture, it has had a secondary effect of putting an unexpected positive twist on the whole mess surrounding Oshtoran Syndrome. It is now raising awareness among young people about the issue of rare neurological disorders, regardless of the sloppy work of the men behind the whole affair.
doi:10.5281/zenodo.7109241 fatcat:yzuuwfaovzhypeldzn4266rbgi