Embarrassing Conditions: Attacked by Your Own Hand
11 July 2012
, by Carian Thus (United Academics)http://www.united-academics.org/magazine/23471/embarrassing-conditions-attacked-by-your-own-hand/Watch the video below to see a case of the alien hand syndrome: an operation left Karen Byrne with no control of her left hand.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwMsXL_YUEoThe world is full of of embarrassing conditions you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
Every week, Carian discusses one. This week: Alien Hand Syndrome
Imagine having a hand that has a will of its own. Never knowing what it’s going to do next.
Turning on the light when you just turned it off, or worse, grasping a purse from a table you’re passing or even causing you physical harm.
This rare medical condition is known as “alien hand syndrome”.
The condition is usually caused by a stroke or other brain damage, particularly in the areas of the corpus callosum (connecting the two cerebral hemispheres), or frontal or parietal lobes.
Although sufferers retain all sense of feeling in the “alien hand” (or leg), the hand acts autonomously, with reported movements ranging from involuntary touching the face to stuffing food in the mouth and even self inflicted choking.
As a consequence patients lose their sense of control over the limb and often describe feelings of dissociation.
In addition, they may exhibit behaviors such as speaking to the hand or claiming its possessed.
According to Wikipedia, there is no known formal (primary) treatment for alien hand syndrome.
However, the symptoms can be reduced and managed to some degree by keeping the alien hand occupied, for example by giving it an object to hold in its grasp.