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]

Liquid Nitrogen Experiments

By Anupum Pant

Short of time and keeping up with a busy schedule, I looked around for something interesting to learn today and I found this cool video of very interesting experiments that were done with liquid Nitrogen on ScienceDump. There are 11 such experiments that are shown in the video…

The first one is a Liquid Nitrogen explosion, something like this professor did some time back. To demonstrate his students how Liquid Nitrogen expanded, he blew up a container of Liquid nitrogen to toss 1,500 ping-pong balls. [Video]

Is an Aeolipile, or a rocket styled jet engine made using liquid nitrogen A.K.A Hero engine. Liquid nitrogen heats up inside a container, expands and comes out of tiny orifices to create a jet that makes the container spin. A simpler version of it can be done using a ping pong ball (again). [Video]

The third one simply is a demonstration of what happens when you eat a biscuit dipped in Liquid Nitrogen.

Fourth one again is something you’ll have to see to get really impressed by what some solids at very low temperatures can do. A nice demonstration of something similar is done on this video. [Video]

Fifth one! Oh, the Leidenfrost effect. We’ve talked enough about it already. [Here]

Others are all pretty interesting too. The eight one probably takes the cake – brings back a dead creature to life, or does it…. But I won’t spoil them for you. Watch the video now…

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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