Researchers at the University of Northern California announced yesterday that following a two-year study, they have identified a new disorder, Short Attention Span Disorder ("SASD"). Over 800 women, ranging in age from 30 to 80, took part in the study, which tracked leisure time habits. While most women who worked outside of the home were able to stay focused during the work day, the study revealed that very few could remain "on task" in the hours that followed.
Researchers further revealed that this study focused on women who pursue quilting as a leisure pasttime, although many of the women were involved with secondary crafts or hobbies as well. Of the 800 women studied, only 4 percent did not exhibit obvious outward signs or symptoms of SASD.
The primary symptom of SASD manifests itself in a person's inability to begin and complete a project without beginning another project prior to the first project's completion. Many women reported that while working on a project, their minds wandered to other ideas, and they were unable to stay focused. When this occurred, 68 percent of those surveyed reported that they would set aside the older project and begin a second. And many women revealed that this occurred multiple times, leaving them with several projects in various stages of completion. Most disturbing was the fact that of those women, an overwhelming number reported symptoms of guilt and feelings of inadequacy.
Because scientists have only just discovered SASD, there is currently no cure. It is also recognized that fabric manufacturers and quilt designers prey on the illness of these individuals, producing a wide array of tempting products that trigger the symptoms of SASD.
Researchers have also identified a large subset of those suffering from SASD. These individuals feel an almost unnatural compulsion to purchase ever increasing amounts of fabrics, books, and patterns. Further study is being undertaken to determine whether this is a true component of SASD or another disease entirely. Some speculate that there may be a chemical used in the fabric manufacturing process that causes these symptoms. If proven, the fabric industry may suffer the same fate as the tobacco industry. Much research remains to be completed before any type of class action lawsuit could be undertaken, however. Opponents claim this is nothing more than another unfounded conspiracy theory in view of the fact that many of those suffering from SASD pre-wash their fabrics before handling them.
Further studies are going forward, and the University of Northern California scientists have assured the public that they will provide additional reports as their research progresses. If you or someone you know suffers from SASD, stay tuned.