Posts Tagged ‘ Anosognosia ’

The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 2)

Errol Morris in The New York Times:

2. The Illness of Doubt:

Everyone Poisons Himself in His Own Way:

June 11, 1914. In a brief communication presented to the Neurological Society of Paris, Joseph Babinski (1857-1932), a prominent French-Polish neurologist, former student of Charcot and contemporary of Freud, described two patients with “left severe hemiplegia” – a complete paralysis of the left side of the body – left side of the face, left side of the trunk, left leg, left foot. Plus, an extraordinary detail. These patients didn’t know they were paralyzed. To describe their condition, Babinski coined the term anosognosia – taken from the Greek agnosia, lack of knowledge, andnosos, disease. [13]

I want to draw attention to a mental disorder that I had the opportunity to observe in cerebral hemiplegia, which consists in the fact that patients seem unaware of or ignore the existence of their paralysis . . . .

One such patient . . . hit by left hemiplegia has largely maintained her intellectual and affective faculties, for many months. She remembered past events well, was willing to talk, expressed herself correctly, her ideas were sensible; she was interested in persons known to her and asked about new people . . . No hallucinations, delirium, confusional state, confabulation. What did contrast with the apparent preservation of intelligence of this patient was that she seemed to ignore the existence of a nearly complete hemiplegia, which she had been afraid of for many years. Never did she complain about it; never did she even allude to it. If she was asked to move her right arm, she immediately executed the command. If she was asked to move the left one, she stayed still, silent, and behaved as if the question had been put to somebody else.

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The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1)

Errol Morris blogging for the New York Times:

David Dunning, a Cornell professor of social psychology, was perusing the 1996 World Almanac.  In a section called Offbeat News Stories he found a tantalizingly brief account of a series of bank robberies committed in Pittsburgh the previous year.  From there, it was an easy matter to track the case to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, specifically to an article by Michael A. Fuoco:

ARREST IN BANK ROBBERY,
SUSPECT’S TV PICTURE SPURS TIPS

At 5 feet 6 inches and about 270 pounds, bank robbery suspect McArthur Wheeler isn’t the type of person who fades into the woodwork.  So it was no surprise that he was recognized by informants, who tipped detectives to his whereabouts after his picture was telecast Wednesday night during the Pittsburgh Crime Stoppers Inc. segment of the 11 o’clock news.

At 12:10 a.m. yesterday, less than an hour after the broadcast, he was arrested at 202 S. Fairmont St., Lincoln-Lemington.  Wheeler, 45, of Versailles Street, McKeesport, was wanted in [connection with] bank robberies on Jan. 6 at the Fidelity Savings Bank in Brighton Heights and at the Mellon Bank in Swissvale. In both robberies, police said, Wheeler was accompanied by Clifton Earl Johnson, 43, who was arrested Jan. 12.[1]

Wheeler had walked into two Pittsburgh banks and attempted to rob them in broad daylight.  What made the case peculiar is that he made no visible attempt at disguise.  The surveillance tapes were key to his arrest.  There he is with a gun, standing in front of a teller demanding money.  Yet, when arrested, Wheeler was completely disbelieving.  “But I wore the juice,” he said.  Apparently, he was under the deeply misguided impression that rubbing one’s face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to video cameras.

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