by KEVIN CARREL FOOTER
A new study published in a prestigious medical journal demonstrates that the effects of Tango on the Brain can be long term, pernicious, hard-to-revert and, if left untreated, ultimately fatal.
In the prologue, the authors of the study explain that they have a very personal interest in isolating the mechanism by which this silent killer is propagated and in one day finding a vaccine. In heart-rending detail, they tell the case of a colleague who started dancing tango recreationally and who later traveled to Buenos Aires. He returned as if in some sort of cognitive dream state, mumbling incomplete, undeveloped ideas about connection and passion and ecstasy.
Soon after, a female colleague succumbed. The experience of seeing promising careers cut short inspired them to raise funds and mount a full-on study to find a cure.
Tango on the Brain is a condition where normal cognitive functions are impaired due to a mysteriously inflamed region in the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) dedicated to pleasure and pain. Today, the condition is irreversible: those who contract it are usually condemned to living with the disease to their final days. Clinical studies have observed patients living with the condition over 30 years. However, anecdotal evidence (not confirmed scientifically) abounds about patients/victims who have suffered the condition for 70 years. Tango on the Brain is a slow killer whose depredations are not readily apparent on the surface but are lasting, transformative and tragic on the inside.
It is not possible to live a normal life with Tango on the Brain. The inflammation in the brain causes an obsessive desire to dance tango which often manifests itself at strange hours. Family ties often suffer as a result and victims are often rendered useless as productive members of society.
Palliative measures including cold showers may help in the short term but seem to have no effect whatsoever on controlling the need to dance over extended periods.
As yet, none of the treatment approaches have succeeded. Traditional approaches using psycho-therapy or chemical intervention have as yet yielded only negative results. Tango on the Brain seems to be so deeply lodged inside a victim’s body and personality that extricating the disease often means killing the subject outright. Facing this choice, many doctors elect to leave patients untreated, lost in an endless agony.
It is common now to see victims on the streets of most major cities. Ominously, the study shows that today the disease is spreading to new populations once thought immune in smaller towns and rural populations.
Untreated victims left among the general population play an important role in the spread of the disease. They exhibit an overwhelming desire to talk about the pleasures of tango. Seemingly innocuous, these conversations often conclude in an invitation to take a tango class. While healthy adults often see through this ruse, vulnerable individuals too often give in. Once taken to the cult centers, called milongas, it is often impossible to return exposed individuals to their original, pre-infection state.
The researchers do not yet understand by which vector the disease is transmitted, whether by air, bodily fluids or some other unknown method. While there is no proof yet, it is thought that the tango embrace is key to transmission. It is recommended that uninfected individuals REFRAIN AT ALL COSTS FROM ENTERING INTO A TANGO EMBRACE until a vaccine is discovered.
The researchers warn of an impending public health emergency. No one is safe: at the highest levels of the US government there are rumors that Barack Obama may have been infected by a tango dancer at a state dinner during a recent visit to Argentina.
Amid all this dire news on the Tango on the Brain front, there is at least one ray of light: victims of the disease are blithely unaware of their condition and even credit the disease — they of course don’t call it that — with having given new meaning to their existence.
It is a small mercy from a disease that ravages countless lives.