6 Extremely Bizarre Brain Disorders

Inside your skull is about one and a half kilos of meat that somehow manages to keep you breathing, help you remember where your wallet is and remind you which is the best hole to put your lunch in…err… not that one And you know what, maths tests aside, it normally does a pretty decent job of stuff

But when you are dealing with something so unbelievably complicated, among the billions of humans all over the planet, you’re occasionally going to have some pretty unusual brain anomalies There’s the obvious ones like amnesia and dyslexia but today we’re looking at naughty neurons, peculiar pathways and confusing consciousness; we’re looking at 6 bizarre brain disorders Riley Day sounds like an awful 90s pop star but it’s actually a genetic condition, officially named Familial dysautonomia, which has the notable effect of making people unable to feel pain But if you’re wondering “okay, so where is this race of super people?” Well it also causes poor growth, unstable blood pressure, violent vomiting, pneumonia and problems with speech and movement So, whilst I’m sure they’d love to help save you from a burning building, they kind of have their own issues to deal with

It’s also very unique to one group of people The only ever cases of Riley-Day syndrome have been found in Ashkenazi Jews Jewish people are, for the most part, split into 3 ethnic groups; Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Mizrahi Ashkenazi is the biggest group, originally from Eastern Europe, containing about 11 million people, half of which live in the US To really rub it in, sufferers also don’t produce tears

There’s also an opposite condition; Hyperalgesia, which is a hyper-sensitivity to pain This one’s not genetic though, it can be caused by long-term opioid use, like with heroin addiction Next we have Alice in Wonderland Syndrome What do you think this is? Do you go chasing rabbits? Do you see smiling cats wherever you go? No, in this wonderland, you lose control of your perception of size and things seem all out of proportion like you’re Alice, eating the cake and drinking from the bottle, growing and shrinking The medical terms are micropsia and macropsia; that’s seeing things as small and seeing them as big

Or you can get pelopsia and teleopsia, where objects seem nearer or further away Unsurprisingly, this can happen through taking hallucinogenic drugs but it also affects those with severe migraines and brain tumors Many children experience a form of it at some point but it disappears in teenage years It’s also one of the symptoms of the Epstein–Barr virus, which is a type of herpes Interestingly, Lewis Carrol was known to suffer from migraines so perhaps this was his inspiration for the distorted world down the rabbit hole

I don’t want to know how he got the idea of an extremely high caterpillar though The Cheshire Cat once said “If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take” and this leads us to our next condition; aboulomania This is what we call pathological indecisiveness A lot of people say they’re bad at making decisions and might spend ten minutes gnawing at their finger nails as their eyes jump from chocolate cake to cheesecake… obviously chocolate cake, you idiot … but this is much worse than that Decision making involves various parts of the brain and varies depending on the type of choice, for example it’s a different process for a free choice such as “what’s your favourite sandwich?” compared to a closed choice such as “beer or cider”

With Aboulomania, the sufferers massively over-analyze the options, always thinking of the worst outcomes and so manage to talk themselves out of ever doing anything, effectively becoming socially paralyzed Now let’s talk some sense There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the senses, for example the idea that there are only 5 of them What about the sense of balance? of pain? and proprioception? which is an understanding of the relative positions of your body parts Synesthesia is a condition where perceptions that are normally separate become mixed, such as seeing numbers as colours or tasting words

There are many different forms but the number-colour thing is the most common, affecting yellow out of purple people with the condition Some of the rarer forms of the condition include seeing time as shapes and feeling other people’s sensations, like if you saw someone scratching their leg, you would immediately feel that same scratching on your own thigh, it’s like a hyper form of empathy The list of famous synesthetes, as they’re called, includes Pharrell Williams, Tesla and Kandinsky Prosopagnosia is an impairment of your facial-recognition ability, controlled by the fusiform gyrus in your frontal lobe It can even result in not being able to recognize your own face, which means you can play Where’s Wally with your own family album A common issue that most of us have is a difficulty telling apart people of different races

And it seems that it’s not that we can’t tell the difference, it’s just that we don’t Psychologist Daniel Levin puts it like this; “When a white person looks at another white person's nose, they're likely to think to themselves, 'That's John's nose' When they look at a black person's nose, they're likely to think, 'That's a black nose'" For your own race you look in a holistic way, getting an overall impression of it, whereas with other races you just bounce around the features, like you’ve not seen a face before and are trying to understand it Simply because your brain is less use to seeing faces of other races than of your own

Obviously this improves dramatically if you live in a multi-cultural area But for those with prosopagnosia, there’s no real way to improve they’re facial recognitions abilities, so they have to rely on remembering people’s dress sense or body language in order to distinguish them Not recognizing your own face is one thing but what about not knowing who is in charge of your hand? Alien Hand Syndrome was first documented in Germany in 1908 and has since been most commonly associated with people who’ve had the two hemispheres of their brain surgically separated, often as a cure for epilepsy But it can also occur after various brain conditions like Alzheimer’s, tumors and so on With Alien Hand Syndrome, one hand moves purposefully, seemingly of its own will and the owner of the hand can do nothing to stop it no matter how hard they try

If there are any bosses watching who have had a sexual harassment allegation made against them, don’t try to use Alien Hand Syndrome as an excuse, you are just a creep and you deserve to be fired The brain is unbelievably complicated and we never know what unusual brain syndrome will manifest itself, out of the blue So, if you’re worried that you’ll never stop smoking weed in your bedroom, playing Call of Duty and skipping on the housework, maybe just keep sticking it out until the world finally recognizes your “Faulty-Motivational-Syndrome” and you might get the sympathy you richly deserve

About Thoughty2

Thoughty2 (Arran) is a British YouTuber and gatekeeper of useless facts. Thoughty2 creates mind-blowing factual videos, on the weirdest, wackiest and most interesting topics. Combining fascinating lists with answers to life's biggest questions.

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