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September 21st, 2018

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Weird Science

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Sept. 2, 2016

Weird Science

Medical Daily, in a May review of recent cases, noted progress in dealing with Cotard's syndrome -- a disorder that leads patients to believe they have no blood or vital body parts -- or feeling as if they are dead (or may as well be). Studies show one in about 200 psychiatric patients exhibit the symptoms, and one doctor, describing a brain scan of his patient, said brain activity resembled that of a person in a coma or under anesthesia. Cotard's, also known as walking corpse syndrome, leads patients to thus avoid eating or bathing (asking themselves, why bother?). [Medical Daily, 5-25-2016]

Awwwww: The Sacramento (California) Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals put out a call for help in April after stray kittens were found dumped in a yard, with only two still alive but nearly blind with eye infections and needing animal blood for a serum that might save the eyes. The call was "answered" by the rescue dog Jemmie. After Jemmie's blood "donation" (not a transfusion, since the blood went only to make the serum), vets reported saving one eye of one of the kittens, earning Jemmie a "special" reward. (Said vet Sarah Varanini, "There's nothing in life (Jemmie) likes more than kittens.") [KOVR-TX (Sacramento), 4-6-2016]

Recurring Themes: Even though extraordinarily rare, two people recently reported foreign accent syndrome after their brain traumas apparently caused crossing of cranial "wires." (1) "J.C.," 50, was described in the journal Cortex as an energetic Italian who, after a brain injury, inexplicably speaks constantly in "emphatic, error-prone French." (2) Six months ago, Lisa Alamia of Rosenberg, Texas, awoke from surgery inexplicably speaking in a British accent (particularly confusing her family and friends since she previously spoke not so much "English" as "Texan"). Medical experts cited by CBS News reported that fewer than 100 people worldwide have ever been diagnosed with foreign accent syndrome. [Washington Post, 6-3-2016] [CBS News, 6-22-2016]

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