Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Anosognosia and the Brain

Anosognosia. Is that a new word for you? It’s sort of the opposite of hypochondria, when individuals think they have every illness they hear about. With anosognosia, individuals seem completely unaware that they have an illness, even after being told about their diagnosis. Although not well know, it is a common consequence of fronto-temporal dementia. (Estimates are that 42% of patients with early Alzheimer’s exhibit symptoms of anosognosia.) Sandra Weintraub, professor of psychiatry and neurology at Northwestern University, explained it this way: “This is not denial. It’s a lack of insight and awareness. Everyone else around them is aware they’re not the same, and they are not.”

More tomorrow.

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