After completing this lesson, you will be able to define agnosia and describe its symptoms and treatment options.
A short quiz follows this lesson so that you can test your new knowledge.
Imagine for a moment that you have suffered a stroke that leaves you unconscious for a short time. It’s a bummer (I know), but just roll with me for a few minutes. When you finally awake from your stupor, everything around you appears the same, but different.How so, you ask? Imagine that you are looking at a large talking box on the wall. You can see its dimensions, and you hear the noise coming from the box, but you cannot remember what the box is. Someone sitting at your bedside calls it a television, but it still seems so strange.
Then you think, who is this person sitting next to you? She says that she is your sister, but you do not recognize her.This scenario may seem like its straight out of a scary movie, but for people suffering from agnosia this is reality.Agnosia is a rare neurological condition in which a person has difficulty recognizing a familiar object, person or sound.
It is caused by lesions on the brain. Medical conditions like a head injury, stoke, dementia or another neurological condition is usually to blame. However, there are several conditions that can cause brain lesions which are also associated with agnosia.;The part of the brain that is affected will dictate the type of agnosia. For example, if the left occipital or temporal lobes of the brain are affected (which controls vision), then you may experience visual agnosia.;In some instances, a person can recall an object but not its function. For example, you can recognize what a cup looks like but cannot remember how to use one.
Many people suffering from agnosia still retain their cognitive abilities, such as math and reading. This condition affects everyone differently but it can significantly impact quality of life.
Types and Symptoms
The types of agnosia are classified by the sense that is affected.
- Visual aka apperceptive agnosia
This type results in difficulty recognizing familiar people or objects by sight. For example, you can be looking at a scrabble tile and a poker chip side by side but are unable to see the differences between them.
Usually only one aspect of sight is altered. For example, although you are unable to recognize the poker chip, you can still describe the color, shape and size.There are several subgroups of visual agnosia, including: agnostic alexia (inability to recognize text), prosopagnosia (inability to recognize familiar faces) and color agnosia (inability to discriminate between colors).
- Auditory agnosia
This is difficulty recognizing familiar sounds, such as a cough or rainfall.
There are three subgroups of this type of agnosia: auditory/verbal agnosia (inability to hear words), auditory agnosia (inability to hear environmental sounds, such as a dog barking), and receptive amusia (inability to hear music).
- Tactile aka somatosensory agnosia
This is difficulty recognizing familiar objects by touch, even though their sense of touch has not changed. For example, if you pet a furry animal with your eyes closed, you would not be able to tell what you are feeling but you may be able to describe how it feels.
Since agnosia is caused by a lesion in the brain, there is no easy cure.; Treatment begins by helping you recognize that you have a problem. Many persons with agnosia do not realize what they are experiencing is abnormal. Once you are aware of your condition, treatment shifts to supportive therapies to make agnosia easier to live with.The treatment should be tailored to each person depending on their specific condition. For example, if you are experiencing prosopagnosia (inability to recognize familiar faces) then you can learn to focus on a distinct characteristic of that person, such as hair style or eye color, in order to help you recognize them. Persons with agnosia also benefit from organization, such as a predicable schedule and familiar surroundings.
Agnosia is a rare medical condition that affects the way you perceive your reality. Persons with this condition have difficulty recognizing familiar objects, persons, or sounds. This condition is caused by a lesion in the brain. The specific part of the brain that is affected will determine your symptoms.The types and symptoms of agnosia are categorized by the sense that is affected (visual, auditory or tactile).
Visual agnosia is defined as the inability to recognize familiar people (prosopagnosia), text (agnostic alexia) or color (color agnosia). Auditory agnosia is difficultly recognizing familiar sounds. Tactile agnosia is defined as difficulty in recognize familiar object by touch.Since agnosia is caused by a brain lesion, there is no cure.
Treatment begins by helping you accept that you have a problem and then tailoring therapy to your specific condition.Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.