Rare and strange medical syndromes are difficult for many people to understand and are often difficult to treat, according to medical experts.
Read on to learn about three unusual and confusing disorders.
Under these three conditions, patients believe they are deadsuffer from severe size distortions in their visual perception, or speak in a foreign language and do not understand why or how it happened.
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Here’s what you need to know about these three conditions.
Cotard syndrome or living dead syndrome
Cotard’s syndrome, sometimes called living-dead syndrome, is a relatively rare neuropsychiatric condition that was first described by Dr. Jules Cotard, a Parisian neurologist, in 1882.
That’s according to Dr. Anne Ruminjo, a second-year psychiatry resident at Beth Israel Medical Center in New Yorkas well as Dr. Boris Mekinulov, attending physician at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn.
They describe the condition in a case report published in the medical journal Psychiatry MMC.
Cotard syndrome includes any one of a “series of delusions” stemming from the belief that a person has “lost organs, blood, or body parts” or “lost their soul or died” , note the doctors in their report.
Cases have been observed in patients with “mood disorders, psychotic disordersand medical conditions,” they said.
“Most cases of Cotard are more responsive to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) than pharmacological treatment,” they share in the report.
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The doctors explained a case of Cotard’s syndrome in which they were involved in the course of their work.
“Ms. L, a 53-year-old Filipino woman, was admitted to the psychiatric unit when her family called 911 because the patient complained that she was dead, smelled of rotting flesh and wanted to be taken to the morgue for that she might be with dead people,” the doctors reported.
“The patient complained of being dead, smelled of rotting flesh and wanted to be taken to the morgue so she could be with dead people.”
They said the patient feared ‘paramedics’ would try to burn down the house where she lived with family members – and admitted ‘desperation, lack of energy, loss of appetite and drowsiness “.
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Following drug treatment during a hospital stay, the patient – upon discharge, doctors reported – “denied nihilistic or paranoid delusions and hallucinations and expressed hope for her future and desire to participate. to psychiatric follow-up care”.
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS) is a collection of symptoms that produce “impaired body image”, reported Dr Anne Weissenstein, Dr Elisabeth Luchter and Dr Stefan Bittmann of the Pediatric Mind Institute of Gronau, Germanyin a report published in the Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences.
“An impairment of visual perception is found in such a way that the sizes of body parts or the sizes of external objects are perceived incorrectly.”
“An alteration of visual perception is found in [the] how the size of body parts or the size of external objects are perceived incorrectly,” the doctors noted.
They added: “The most common perceptions [occur] the night.”
While all causes of AIWS cases are “not yet known exactly,” doctors shared that some causes are “typical migraine, temporal lobe epilepsy, brain tumors, and psychoactive medications and Epstein-Barr virus infection.”
AIWS has no effective treatment, they noted.
Treatment plans consist of migraine prophylaxis (medication) and a migraine diet, they reported.
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“Chronic cases of AIWS exist,” they also pointed out.
foreign accent syndrome
Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) is a speech disorder that causes a sudden change in spoken words, causing the sufferer to be perceived as speaking with a “foreign” accent, according to the University of Texas at the Callier Center in Dallas.
The center treats thousands of patients with various hearing, language and speech disorders, according to its webpage.
FAS is most commonly caused by brain damage due to “a stroke or traumatic brain injury,” the center says.
“Other causes have also been reported, including multiple sclerosis and conversion disorder – and in some cases no clear cause has been identified.”
Speech can be “altered in terms of timing, intonation and tongue placement,” the center explains, “which is perceived as a foreign sound.”
“Remarkably, the brain damage had altered the melody of her tongue and she spoke with a German-like accent.
However, a patient’s speech remains “highly intelligible” and does not sound “necessarily messy”, the center also notes.
FAS has been documented in cases around the world, the same source says, including accent shifts from “Japanese to Korean, British English to French, American English to British English and from Spanish to Hungarian”.
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In perhaps SAF’s best-known case, a 28-year-old woman was hit in the head by a bomb fragment after British bombers attacked Oslo, Norway on September 6, 1941.
The particular case is shared in a medical summary by Dr. Erland Hem, assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Medicine at the University of Oslo, Norway, and published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
She was ‘seriously injured’ with a ‘large defect in the skull frontally on the left side’ – and doctors did not think she was not going to live.
“The brain damage altered the melody of her tongue and she spoke with a German-like accent.”
After being unconscious for three to four days, she then woke up – and had “right-sided hemiplegia and complete aphasia”, the medical summary states.
“She gradually recovered and two months later, she was released from the hospital,” said the same source.
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“Remarkably, the brain damage had impaired her speech melody and she spoke with a German-like accent.”
“This caused her problems during the war: she was, for example, not served in the shops.”
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The case history was published after the war by Norwegian neurologist Georg Herman Monrad-Krohn.
This is the best-known case of foreign accent syndrome, notes the summary.