Thursday, July 21, 2005

Neurological discoveries I have made

As an epidemiologist I am interested in patterns of disease in populations. So imagine my excitement when I discovered, courtesy the site Brain, Mind and Language (via Boingboing) descriptions of obscure neurological syndromes immediately recognizable as afflictions of well known population groups, to wit:

Kluver-Bucy Syndrome: Described as temporal lobe and amygdala damage, sufferers try to put any accessible object into their mouths and also try to have sexual intercourse with inappropriate objects.
Effectively, it is the "what" pathway that is damaged with regards to foodstuff and sexual partner. As Ramachandran puts it, "they are not hypersexual, just indiscriminate. They [monkeys with surgically modified temporal lobes] have great difficulty in knowing what prey is, what a mate is, what food is and in general what the significance of any object might be."
My discovery: Unusual variant in the Bush administration where they try to put anything they want in the mouths of the Washington Press Corps and then try to screw them.

Capgras' Syndrome: Often mistaken for a mental illness, Capgras' Syndrome is described as damage to the kinesthetic component of facial recognition. Patients believe people close to them are imposters,
identical in every possible way, but identical replicas. Classically, the patient will accept living with these imposters but will secretly "know" that they are not the people they claim to be.
My discovery: I am suffering from this syndrome, although my symptoms are limited to delusions about the Washington Press Corps. I find this variant also prevalent in the left hemi-blogosphere.

Cotard's syndrome:
Named after a French psychiatrist Jules Cotard, this syndrome is characterized by the patient believing that he is dead, a walking corpse.
My discovery: Diagnosis of Democratic Congressthings.

Fregoli syndome:
This is an extraordinary experience where the person misidentifies another person as someone who clearly he is not.
My discovery: This is the most stunning discovery of all. This neurological disease afflicts over half the voting population of the United States.