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Jumping Frenchmen of Maine

Other Names for this Disease
  • 'jumpers' of Maine
  • Exaggerated startle reflex
  • Startle disease
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Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is a condition characterized by an unusually extreme startle response. The exact cause of the condition is unknown. One theory is that the disorder occurs because of an extreme conditioned response to a particular situation influenced by cultural factors. It was first identified during the late nineteenth century in Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec in an isolated population of lumberjacks of French Canadian descent. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is a type of startle-matching syndrome. These syndromes have been described in many different parts of the world.[1]
Last updated: 9/8/2010


  1. Simons RC. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). 2010; Accessed 9/8/2010.
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Basic Information

  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
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