Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget includes $250,000 to study health impacts of wind turbines. (UPI, 2/7/2015)
The study is inspired by residents of Brown County in Wisconsin, who became the first residents in the U.S. to ever complain about health problems related to wind turbines in October. The residents complained about ear pressure, headaches and nausea.
Nocebo Doubt About It: "Wind Turbine Syndrome" Is Catching. (Discover, 10/23/2012)
December 2011. Years later, Wisconsin wind farm fears fail to materialize. (Midwest Energy News)
September 2012. Sciuate, Massachusetts, residents complain of sleep deprivation, headaches, dizziness, and nausea and file complaint with town board of health.
September 2012. UK Daily Mail publishes article with this attention-grabbing headline:
The author of the Discover article takes all of this with a big grain of salt.
For one thing, the alleged health problem has been adopted by demagogues and parroted on popular climate-skeptic websites. But the bigger problem is that “wind turbine syndrome” is what is known as a “communicated” disease, says Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney. The disease, which has reached epidemic proportions in Australia, “spreads via the nocebo effect by being talked about, and is thereby a strong candidate for being defined as a psychogenic condition,” Chapman wrote several months ago in The Conversation.
What Chapman is describing is a phenomenon akin to mass hysteria—an outbreak of apparent health problems that has a psychological rather than physical basis. Such episodes have occurred throughout human history;