Bottom Line: The actor who plays Dustin Henderson on the popular Netflix series "Stranger Things" was born with cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD), a rare disorder of which the most prominent features are missing or abnormal growth of the teeth and collarbones. The fictional character shares the condition with actor Gaten Matarazzo III and the show has featured scenes of Matarazzo's Dustin educating others about it. The authors of this research letter used data from Google Trends and CCD-related foundations to gauge public interest and awareness of the disorder after the release of each of the show's three seasons. Researchers report that each season of the show was associated with an increase in weekly search interest for CCD above what would be expected. Data from most CCD-related foundations contacted weren't quantifiable but web traffic to one site for a CCD-related information page reached 10,000 visits the week after the show's third season premiered last summer. While study authors urge writers to exercise cautious when portraying characters with rare disorders, those portrayals might help to raise awareness of these conditions.
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Authors: Austin L. Johnson, B.S., Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, and coauthors
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# # #Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Austin L. Johnson, B.S., email Melani Hamilton at email@example.com. The full study is linked to this news release.
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