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Anybody else have PROSOPAGNOSIA???

Newcomer introductions, personal anecdotes, caregiver issues, lab results, and n=1 experimentation.
Exodus
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Anybody else have PROSOPAGNOSIA???

Postby Exodus » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:15 pm

Prosopagnosia is a fifty-dollar word meaning FACE BLINDNESS!

I have had this for many years (probably 20) and from what I've read, mine is not nearly as severe as some who cannot recognize their own family members.

It is serious enough to really handicap me when it comes to remembering that I've met this one or that one - I try to memorize distinctive features so I can recall them at a later time, but since we can change hair color/style so easily these days, this method of recognizing people is frequently unsuccessful.

I've lost count of how many times people come up to me and obviously know me, but I can't place them. Usually, the topic of conversation refreshes my memory, but I still don't recognize their faces.

I have had some head injuries - MVA, falls, etc., but recently read that inability to recognizing faces is a sign of early Alzheimers :roll:

Is that true - anyone have corroborating or other info???

Thanks in advance for your consideration . . . Exodus

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Re: Anybody else have PROSOPAGNOSIA???

Postby Searcher » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:28 am

Exodus, prosopagnosia is not pathognomonic of Alzheimer's disease (pardon the French). That means it's not, on its own, sufficient evidence of Alzheimer's. Why not? Because it can be caused by anything that affects the relevant part of the brain. In this case, that's probably the right fusiform gyrus. Trauma is sufficient to explain it. Sometimes it's a congenital condition, and present throughout life.

NF52
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Re: Anybody else have PROSOPAGNOSIA???

Postby NF52 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:39 am

Here's some reassuring N=2 info, Exodus: Howard Gardner, who is 74, and a brilliant theoretician and psychologist who developed the theory of Multiple Intelligences, has great difficulty identifying both colors, and faces. (By report, he often can't recognize his own doctoral students in the hallways at Harvard.) He became great friends with Oliver Sachs, the brilliant neurologist (Awakening, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat etc.) who couldn't even recognize his own face in mirrors. A supposedly true anecdote is that both had to have their secretaries agree on what they would wear to a lunch meeting, so that they could "see" each other. Sachs continued writing until his death from cancer at age 82.

Gardner wrote a "letter" to his younger self a few years ago with advice that I think works for all of us. Here's the link, and a snippet:

http://www.gradpsychblog.org/dear-me-future-psychologist-yours-truly-dr-howard-gardner/#.Wob2cZM-dyw

Though color blind, myopic, without stereoscopic vision, and prosopagnosic (all intriguing conditions!), I nonetheless elected to study artistic vision... Follow your passion, your love, do what you most want to do vocationally and avocationally...Think beyond your own needs and desires; serve the wider community.


FWIW, I have a mild case of prosopagnosia: I constantly have to ask my husband during movies or series with standard-issue actors "is that the same person...?" while I never have to ask who Frances McDormand or Clint Eastwood is! I'm thrilled when I meet someone with distinctive features, since I know it will be much easier to pull up that face/name combo. When I go into a new setting, I now say "I have facial amnesia, so if I forget your name and face, just prompt me." People love "finding" I was right!
4/4 and still an optimist!

Exodus
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Re: Anybody else have PROSOPAGNOSIA???

Postby Exodus » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:36 pm

Searcher wrote:Exodus, prosopagnosia is not pathognomonic of Alzheimer's disease (pardon the French). That means it's not, on its own, sufficient evidence of Alzheimer's. Why not? Because it can be caused by anything that affects the relevant part of the brain. In this case, that's probably the right fusiform gyrus. Trauma is sufficient to explain it. Sometimes it's a congenital condition, and present throughout life.


Thanks, Searcher - not only for the assurance, but for the translation :lol: I find it difficult to pinpoint cause and timing of when prosopagnosia began for me. I had head injury as a teenager, but have also had MVA & two other serious head injuries in my adult life.

Going through old membership & staff lists I have discovered note-to-self-type, marginal descriptors of who a listed person reminded me of in order to remember the next time . . . did that make sense? At any rate - I've been reminding myself of who this one or that one looks like for somewhere between 1-2 decades . . . yikes!

Exodus
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Re: Anybody else have PROSOPAGNOSIA???

Postby Exodus » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:51 pm

NF52 wrote: FWIW, I have a mild case of prosopagnosia: I constantly have to ask my husband during movies or series with standard-issue actors "is that the same person...?" while I never have to ask who Frances McDormand or Clint Eastwood is! I'm thrilled when I meet someone with distinctive features, since I know it will be much easier to pull up that face/name combo. When I go into a new setting, I now say "I have facial amnesia, so if I forget your name and face, just prompt me." People love "finding" I was right!


Yes - NF52 - movies are the WORST! Especially when they have an inordinately large cast of "standard-issue actors" (love that descriptor) :lol: If it's a typical cast with the normal number of blondes & brunettes, I'm relatively OK, but with huge numbers of characters . . . I'm in trouble! If/when watching at home, I often give up early on, not feeling an hour and a half of it is worth the extended confusion!

Thanks so much for the reminder of Awakenings (Sachs) - I had forgotten about the L-dopa story - depicted so effectively in the Robin Williams movie. In my spare time ;-) I'll need to read more about both men - so appreciate the information about their secretaries' efforts to enable them to "see" each other!

Keep on keepin' on . . . Exodus


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