Actor Brad Pitt revealed in a recent interview that he suffers from prosopagnosia, a rare neurological disorder also known as “facial blindness.”
Dani Blum describes the disorder’s signs, causes, and remedies in an article for the New York Times.
Borna Bonakdarpour, a behavioral neurologist at Northwestern Medicine, claims that face blindness—not color blindness or general vision impairment—is the main symptom of prosopagnosia.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that there is no connection between the illness and memory loss, vision problems, or learning impairments.
Blum continues, “It is not the same as forgetting or occasionally having trouble finding the correct word.
The severity of prosopagnosia will differ from person to person.
For instance, some people might have problems identifying a familiar face, such as that of a close friend or relative, while others might have trouble identifying their own reflection.
Additionally, some people might not be able to distinguish between faces and objects.
Notably, some data indicates that individuals with prosopagnosia may have chronic anxiety or depression due to the loneliness and fear that are frequently associated with the illness.
Blum notes that some people avoid contact with family members and other loved ones out of concern that they won’t be able to properly recognize or acknowledge them.
“Navigating basic social relationships with prosopagnosia can become difficult,” she says.
Pitt admitted that he has trouble recognizing people’s faces for years in a recent interview with GQ, despite never having gotten a formal prosopagnosia diagnosis.
In fact, Pitt claimed in a 2013 interview with Esquire that his difficulty recognizing people’s appearances was so great that it frequently made him want to isolate himself.
He explained, “That’s why I stay at home.
What is the condition’s cause?
People who are diagnosed with prosopagnosia often fall into one of two categories: either they are born with it or they acquire it.
However, estimations reveal that as many as one in every 50 people may struggle with some lifetime form of the disorder, and experts hypothesize that it may run in families.
According to Blum, research “suggests that congenital, or lifelong, prosopagnosia is less prevalent.”
According to Andrey Stojic, director of general neurology at the Cleveland Clinic, children born with the illness “don’t seem to have any visible structural abnormality” in the brain.
Notably, doctors don’t fully understand what causes congenital prosopagnosia because there aren’t any obvious brain lesions in persons who have it.
In contrast, people who develop prosopagnosia later in life may have brain abnormalities brought on by a trauma or head injury.
According to Bonakdarpour, individuals can also develop prosopagnosia while dealing with Alzheimer’s illness or following a stroke.
What therapies are available for prosopagnosia?
Prosopagnosia is now untreatable, according to Bonakdarpour. The problem can be treated, though.
People who have the syndrome frequently attempt to distinguish between people by focusing on physical characteristics like hair color, gait, or voice.
Usually, a set of tests that measure a person’s memory and face recognition help neurologists make the diagnosis.
As doctors frequently take care to ensure that a patient’s face blindness is not an indication of a more extensive degenerative neurological disorder, Blum adds, “it can be a drawn-out process.”
It’s noteworthy that many people with the illness, like Pitt, won’t get an official diagnosis.
Many of the difficulties he’s discussing and the issues he has are not unusual for people to go through them, according to Stojic.
He continued, “It may be relatively crippling for folks. “Others find it difficult to comprehend,”