Navigation Links
St. Michael's reports second known case of patient developing synesthesia after brain injury
Date:7/30/2013

TORONTO, July 30, 2013-About nine months after suffering a stroke, the patient noticed that words written in a certain shade of blue evoked a strong feeling of disgust. Yellow was only slightly better. Raspberries, which he never used to eat very often, now tasted like blue and blue tasted like raspberries.

High-pitched brass instrumentsspecifically the brass theme from James Bond movieselicited feelings of ecstasy and light blue flashes in his peripheral vision and caused large parts of his brain to light up on an MRI. Music played by a euphonium, a tenor-pitched brass instrument, shut down those sensations.

The patient said he was initially frightened by the mixed messages his brain was sending him and the conflicting senses he was experiencing. He was so worried that something was seriously wrong with him that he raised it with a nurse only as he was leaving an appointment at St. Michael's Hospital in downtown Toronto.

Physicians and researchers immediately recognized he had synesthesia, a neurological condition in which people experience more than one sense at the same time. They may "see" words or numbers as colours, hear sounds in response to smells or feel something in response to sight.

Most synesthetes are born with the condition, and include some of the world's most famous authors and artists, including author Vladimir Nabakov, composer Franz Liszt, painter Vasily Kandinsky and singer-songwriter Billy Joel.

The Toronto patient is only the second known person to have acquired synesthesia as a result of a brain injury, in this case a stroke. His case was described in the August issue of the journal Neurology by Dr. Tom Schweizer, a neuroscientist and director of the Neuroscience Research Program at St. Michael's Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

Dr. Schweizer examined the patient's brain activity in a functional MRI and compared it to six men of similar age (45) and education (18 years) as each listened to the James Bond Theme and a euphonium solo.

When the James Bond Theme was played, large areas of the patient's brain lit up including the thalamus (the brain's information switchboard), the hippocampus (which deals with memory and spatial navigation) and the auditory cortex (which processes sound).

"The areas of the brain that lit up when he heard the James Bond Theme are completely different from the areas we would expect to see light up when people listen to music," Dr. Schweizer said. "Huge areas on both sides of the brain were activated that were not activated when he listened to other music or other auditory stimuli and were not activated in the control group."

The patient and members of the control group also viewed 10-second blocks of words presented in black (which elicits no emotional response in the patient), yellow (mild disgust response) and blue (intense disgust response).

Reading blue letters produced extensive activity in the parts of the patient's brain responsible for sensory information and processing emotional stimuli and similar but less intense responses for yellow letters. Control groups showed no heightened brain activity in response to the different coloured letters.

Dr. Schweizer said the fact that the patient had very targeted and specific responses to certain stimuli and that these responses were not experienced by the control group suggests that his synesthesia was caused as his brain tried to repair itself after his stroke and got cross-wired.

The patient's stroke occurred in the thalamus, the brain's central relay station. That's the same part of the brain affected by the only other reported case of acquired synesthesia.


'/>"/>

Contact: Leslie Shepherd
shepherdl@smh.ca
416-864-6094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Tosh Patterson Receives Honors at the 5th Annual Get RADICAL Women’s Conference Featuring Jillian Michaels, Lisa Nichols, Giuliana Rancic
2. 1 in 3 households misreports smoke alarm coverage
3. Study examines necessity of additional imaging in PET/CT oncologic reports
4. Reactions to HIV drug have autoimmune cause, reports AIDS journal
5. Dana-Farber: Study reports first success of targeted therapy in type of non-small cell lung cancer
6. Well-known author and historian reports on progress in Huntingtons therapies
7. Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuit Filed in Louisiana Alleging Woman Used Diabetes Medication and Contracted Bladder Cancer, Consumer Justice Foundation Reports
8. Oxford University Press acquires joint ownership of Journal of Surgical Case Reports
9. Two-Thirds of U.S. Youth Have Had Oral Sex, CDC Reports
10. NSF reports on R&D spending by businesses in the United States
11. No July phenomenon for neurosurgery patients, reports Neurosurgery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th ... Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: ... faced every danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From ... Carole is a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... Planet Fitness, one ... U.S., announced today its plans to open a flagship location in Covington, LA at ... former Rooms To Go store next to Office Depot in the Holiday Square shopping ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... a leader in post-acute health care, have expanded their existing home health joint ... Health. , AccentCare has been operating a joint venture home health company with ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... D.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... Leading ... their peers in Washington, D.C., for the 49th Congress of the International Society ... ., Vice President of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/27/2017)... 2017  Commended for their devotion to personalized service, SMP ... number one in the South Florida Business Journal,s 50 Fastest-Growing ... yearly list, the national specialty pharmacy has found its niche.  ... will soon be honored by SFBJ as the 2017 Power ... Set to receive his award in October, Bardisa said of ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... 2017   Montrium , an industry leader ... the IQPC Trial Master Files & Inspection Readiness ... EastHORN Clinical Services has selected eTMF Connect ... management. EastHORN, a leading European contract research organization ... transparency to enable greater collaboration with sponsors, improve ...
(Date:9/23/2017)... , Sept. 22, 2017 Janssen Biotech, Inc. ... response letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ... of sirukumab for the treatment of moderately to severely ... additional clinical data are needed to further evaluate the ... severely active RA. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: