Navigation Links
Getting lost -- a newly discovered developmental brain disorder

Feeling lost every time you leave your home? You may not be as alone as you think.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute recently documented the first case of a patient who, without apparent brain damage or cognitive impairment, is unable to orient within any environment. Researchers also believe that there are many others in the general population who may be affected by this developmental topographical disorder.

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, and led by Giuseppe Iaria, a UBC Faculty of Medicine and VCH postdoctoral fellow, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) together with behavioural studies to assess and characterize the navigational deficiencies of the patient, who is completely unable to orient within the environment, getting lost even within the neighborhood where the patient lived for many years.

"Imagine not being able to do the simplest of tasks such as finding your way home from the grocery store," says Iaria, who is affiliated with the Brain Research Centre. "Navigating and orienting in an environment are complex cognitive skills, involving parts of the brain used for memory, attention, perception, and decision-making. It also requires using at least two distinct types of memory systems."

The procedural memory system involves using landmarks, distances, or following stereotyped movements to move between locations. The spatial memory system is more complex. When moving through an environment familiar or not a person creates a mental representation of the environment, called a cognitive map. It is the ability to "create" and "read" these cognitive maps that enables a person to navigate by following a route without getting lost.

Brain malformations or lesions in parts of the brain important for navigation are known to cause navigation difficulties. However, no such defects or lesions in the patient's brain were detected. Moreover, a series of behavioural tests revealed that patient's problem was due to a specific inability to form cognitive maps.

"We suspect that this patient is not unique, and that there are others suffering varying degrees of selective developmental topographical disorientation," says Dr. Jason Barton, Canada Research Chair and director of the Human Vision and Eye Movement Laboratory where the patient was studied. "They might have a lifelong story of episodes like getting lost in their own house or neighbourhood, at school or at work, and having to rely on others for directions. In extreme circumstances, this can even lead to social isolation."


Contact: Catherine Loiacono
University of British Columbia

Related medicine news :

1. Getting better conference to address developments in neurocritical care
2. Brain surgery is getting easier on patients
3. Red Cross Getting Ahead of Fay as More Rain Falls Across State
4. More U.S. Women Getting Birth Control Services
5. Are You Getting Burned by Your Sunscreen?
6. Spray Cuts Kids Pain When Getting IVs
7. Saddle Up! Getting a Jump on Proper Horse Care
8. CA Legislatures Reform of Health Insurance Cancellations Resembles Insurance Industrys Own Plan; Insurers, Satisfied With Getting a Legal Edge Against Patients, Drop Opposition to the Bill
9. Most Asthmatics Arent Getting Flu Shot
10. Quit smoking message not getting air time in mental health care
11. 20 Million Kids Books Distributed, 25% of U.S. Children in Poverty Getting Books, 50,000 Doctors Trained: Three Key Milestones for Reach Out and Read
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 , ... Growth in medical ... due to decreases in utilization of hospital and nonhospital care, according to a recent ... Medical Benchmarks for Louisiana, 16th Edition , found medical payments per claim with more ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... December 1, 2015—Since the ... in scientific research and discoveries, leading us to better understand the disease’s behavior. ... those affected by HIV/AIDS. Mediaplanet’s cross-platform edition of “World AIDS Day” provides insight ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... It’s official: Tattoo taboo is a thing of the past. One in ... whopping one in three aged 18 to 25 is inked). As tattoos transition to ... In fact, RealSelf , the world’s largest community for learning and sharing information ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Diabetic ... United States. Podiatrists are well aware that psychology-based patient non-compliance (disobedience of a ... catastrophic contributors to diseases of the diabetic foot. The American Board of ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... For many X-rays taken at ... accurate interpretation by the radiologist. The marking utensils are so small, however, they ... found a way to alleviate this problem. , He developed the patent-pending MARK ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015 WellStar Health System has ... Texas -based Tenet Healthcare,s five metro ... approved the strategic move following the conclusion of the ... clinical care models and patient safety programs that have ... to new communities. --> ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015  Eyeon Therapeutics has received a Notice ... based on a charged hydrophilic polymer developed at ... product has been shown to be safe and ... Mark Mitchnick , MD, CEO states, "This second ... polymers in conjunction with a therapeutic agent.  Nanoparticles ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 1, 2015 Pharma Tech Outlook recently conducted ... Clinical Data Management Solution Providers - 2015 .  After ... comprising CEOs, CIOs, VCs, analysts, and the Pharma Tech ... of top 10 clinical data management solution providers (check ... 14 and 36 respectively). --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: