Friends: they're so STUPID. Texting you garbage that doesn't make sense, like, "lol idc 143" and "Fjrthbjhjkgh 7&&." Then again, as the New York Times points out, sometimes when friends text you gibberish, it's not because they're drunk or sitting on their phone; it's because they're having a stroke.

Slurred and incoherent speech is one of the classic signs of a stroke. But new research finds that another symptom may be garbled and disjointed text messages, which could provide early clues to the onset of a stroke.

So, to be on the safe side, maybe just always assume they're having a stroke? In fact, to be on the extra safe side, text all your friends right now. Write: "Are you having a stroke? (Apologies 4 mass text.)"

On Tuesday, the Times' health blog zeroed in on the distinctly modern phenomenon it claims "doctors" (who sound more like bloggers) "are calling 'dystextia,'" by examining the only two known cases of it.

In one, a 40-year-old Detroit man retained his ability to read, write longhand, and understand language normally following a stroke; the only thing he couldn't do was text.

The man's wife noticed something was awry after he sent her a series of "disjointed and nonsensical" text messages that could also be interpreted as incredibly inept sexts:

One message said: "Oh baby your." Another text, moments later, said, "I am happy." The man later wrote that he was "out of it" and "can't make sense."

Two days later, at the hospital, a doctor handed the patient a smartphone and told him to type out (with no abbreviations) "The doctor needs a new BlackBerry." The man produced a message reading "Tjhe Doctor nddds a new bb."

This concentrated loss of skill could indicate that the ability to send a text message is governed by a part of the brain separate from other language abilities. Or it could just be one of those freak, wackadoo, who-knows-what things. No mention was made of the man experiencing similar difficulties while typing on a computer.

Either way, the next time your friend sends you what appears to be a butt-text, call an ambulance because they are dying.

[NYT Blog // Image via Shutterstock]