Cotard Syndrome – Walking Dead Disorder

By Anupum Pant

Neurological conditions can be bizarre. Now I know that there is a condition that can delude patients to such an extent that they start thinking they no longer exist, or are dead. It’s called the Cotard Syndrome or the walking dead disorder.

Named after a French doctor Jules Cotard, the Cotard syndrome is a neurological condition in which severe degeneration of neural synapses occurs and messes with the facial recognition and emotion centres of the brain. Their brain creates a totally impaired perception of the self. As a result, patients suffering from it some times get convinced that their body parts no longer exist, or have started decaying.

Often times, patients think that they no longer need to eat (because they are already dead), and they starve to death.

There have also been cases in which patients have tried to get rid of their body parts using acid because they felt doing this was only the way to free themselves of being zombies.

Graham, a person who got caught up by this bizarre disorder was totally convinced that his brain did not exist. He had lost all his senses, he thought he was in a state between life and death, and saw no point in continuing to live this way. He tried to kill himself by getting electrocuted in a bathtub. Graham got cured to some extent, but the disorder completely messed up the rest of his life.

Another person who suffered brain injury due to a motorcycle accident was first cleared as health by doctors initially. After which he went on a vacation to South Africa. By the time he came back, he was totally convinced that he had died and had gone to hell.

Thankfully, it is an extremely rare disorder.

via [NewScientist]

An Extremely Rare and Bizarre Disorder – Alien Hand Syndrome

By Anupum Pant

Like lakes, bizarre and rare disorders also fascinate me. Of course I would never want to experience one of these, but it’s good to know about them. Besides the horrible, body-turning-into-stone disorder, Alien hand syndrome is one of the most bizarre disorders I’ve heard of.

If someone has the Alien hand syndrome, they’d have a hand that would move around and do stuff on its own without the person even being aware about it. And I’m not talking about those involuntary muscular movements you have once in a while. In this, the hand moves as if it can think for itself. It moves as if it’s being moved by “someone else”. Some times, it becomes necessary to use the other hand to stop it!

Imagine your left hand grabbing an object and you just can’t let it go.

It happens when the two hemispheres of the brain get separated either surgically or by accident or disease. In that case, the left and right hemispheres are unable to move information between them.

It isn’t just rare and bizarre, it’s extremely scary too. Imagine if your left hand waking up at night to murder its own host. At night, it’d like sleeping with a stranger. In fact, it’d be like living with a creepy stranger all the time. Who would want that!

Like the following video puts it, it seems as if there is another intelligence at work here, the one which is not known to the patient.

[Wikipedia page]

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Horrible Rare Genetic Disease Turns Humans to Statues

By Anupum Pant

Background

At an early age, the horrible, rare and poorly understood disease that we’ll discuss today – FOP – starts producing tumours in the body. Doctors usually assume it to be the fairly common cancerous tissue but when it turns out to be FOP, everybody panics. Yes, this one is more ruthless than cancer. How?

Well, FOP (Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva) turns humans into statues. It is also known as the stone man syndrome. It is an extremely rare genetic disorder in which the muscles and other connective tissues in the human body start turning into bone. Some times it happens automatically, other times it happens when the tissues are damaged. Gradually, the patients who are affected by FOP are imprisoned in their own skeletal prison.

FOP is one of the most bizarre diseases. And has no solid cure.

Why does it happen?

It happens because of a gene that fails to turn off. This gene is responsible to form bones in a baby’s body when it is still in the womb. Once the job is done, the job of the gene is to turn off itself. But when this deactivation of the gene doesn’t happen, the gene keeps making bones even after the child is born and ultimately turns a human into a statue made of bone.

Ashley Kurpiel: When Ashley was just 3 years old. Tumours started appearing in her arm. Doctors thought they were cancerous tissues and started taking steps to deal with it. Only when they removed her arm, the doctors realized it wasn’t cancer, it was a horror. They found, she had FOP. She was slowly turning into a statue made of bone.

Harry Eastlack: When he was 5, he broke a leg and then there were other complications while the fracture was being treated. The fracture didn’t set correctly. This made his hip and knee stiff and bone growths started on the muscles of his thigh. The transformation of muscle/tendons to bone started happening in other parts of the body too. By the time he turned 20, his backbone had turned into a single stiff piece of bone. When he was 39 years old and was almost turning 40, his body had turned completely into bone. His jaws were locked and the only part he could move in his body was his lips. Harry died from pneumonia before he could turn 40.

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