Diseases

Asomatognosia – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Asomatognosie

Asomatognosia impairs body perception. Because of lesions in the parietal lobe, patients no longer feel that a section of their own body belongs. Due to the lack of insight into the disease, treatment is considered difficult.

What is asomatognosia?

Medicine understands asomatognosia as a lack of perception of one’s own body parts, which is based on a physical cause. Literally translated, the term means “not knowing” about your own body. In most cases, patients simply have no sense of belonging to their own body parts. Diseases of the affected extremities are also often no longer perceived by the patients due to the lack of a sense of belonging.

Asomatognosia affects either one or both sides of the body. The left side of the body is usually affected, since a lesion of the right parietal lobe is one of the most common causes of the phenomenon. There are different types of asomatognosia. In addition to allesthesia and anosognosia , anosodiaphoria, asymbolia, autotopagnosia and pain asymbolia are among the most common forms.

Asomatognosia is usually accompanied by further neurological deficits. As a rule, the symptoms do not occur in isolation, but as part of an entire syndrome and can also affect very localized sections of the body.

causes

Asomatognosia is usually preceded by right hemisphere lesions of the parietal lobe. The so-called Brodmann areas are located in the parietal lobe. This area of ​​the brain plays a role in combining sensory information from the individual sensory channels and is thus involved in spatial perception as well as in the body’s navigation through space. The parietal lobe is primarily used for orientation, determines the environment and incorporates the images of the environment into a motor strategy.

The most common cause of lesions in this area of ​​the brain is a cerebral infarction . Bleeding of the middle cerebral artery can also trigger the symptoms. The corresponding sections of the parietal lobe can also be damaged by inflammation. However, causal cerebral infarction and bleeding are more common.

One of the rarest are causative cysts or tumors in the parietal lobe area. In particular, asomatognosia due to hemorrhages and cerebral infarctions can cause entire syndromes such as Anton syndrome , in which the patient cannot recognize his own blindness due to the brain lesions. Some asomatognosias are localized in the frontal lobe instead of in the parietal lobe or, in the case of Anton syndrome, directly in the visual pathways.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

As a form of asomatognosia, pain asymbolia manifests itself in a locally absent pain perception, which impairs the understanding of the pain that is causing it. So the pain is felt, but due to the lack of understanding of its biological meaning, no appropriate defense reactions take place.

In autotopagnosia, the patient can no longer localize or name their own body parts. On the other hand, asymbolia due to lesions in Brodmann areas 5 and 7 impairs the general understanding of all representative signs.

Allesthesia allows the patient to no longer allocate stimuli to the correct parts of the body. Two special forms of asomatognosia are anosognosia and anosodiaphoria. In anosognosia, the patient cannot perceive his own body deficits, and anosodiaphoria makes him feel indifferent to his own illness.

Symptoms may overlap or accompany other neurological symptoms, such as paralysis , deafness , or blindness . Rotating vertigo also indicates lesions in the lower parietal lobe. Lesions in the lateral parietal lobe are often associated with speech disorders .

Diagnosis & History

Diagnosis of asomatognosia is primarily based on history, psychiatric evaluation, and brain imaging. This phenomenon is often an incidental finding, since the patients do not visit the doctor because of a disease they are completely unaware of.

In Anton syndrome, for example, those affected do not appear to the doctor because of the blindness that has occurred, but because of accompanying neurological symptoms. When their blindness is revealed to them, they deny having the condition, feeling they can still see. The course of asomatognosia depends on the cause and the time of diagnosis and treatment.

complications

Asomatognosia is usually accompanied by a greatly reduced perception of pain. The patient cannot decide independently whether certain parts of the body are in pain or not. This increases the risk of illness and accidents. The biological defense reactions are also limited because the perception of pain is no longer active.

In some cases, the stimuli are also not assigned to the correct places on the body. As a result, pain can be felt in the wrong places and lead to wrong conclusions. In many cases, patients also suffer from hearing loss and vision problems. It is not uncommon for those affected to have difficulty speaking and paralysis in certain parts of the body.

In most cases, psychological treatment is sought in asomatognosia. However, this can take several months, since it is often not easy to convince the patient of a specific illness. It is usually not possible to predict whether further complications will arise.

If the asomatognosia is not treated, cancerous diseases and cysts develop in many cases . Those affected also suffer from an increased risk of accidents. In general, life expectancy decreases with asomatognosia.

When should you go to the doctor?

In many cases, asomatognosia is diagnosed in children. Above all, the parents must point out the disease to the doctor so that he can make a diagnosis. As a rule, the doctor should be consulted when the pain sensitivity of the person concerned no longer functions properly.

Pain can be perceived either too strongly or too weakly. Especially in children, asomatognosia can lead to developmental disorders and growth disorders. It is not uncommon for speech disorders to occur.

A doctor must be consulted if the patient complains of paralysis or other sensory disturbances. It is not uncommon for blindness or deafness to occur. Rotating vertigo can also be a symptom of asomatognosia and must be examined by a doctor. As a rule, the first examination and diagnosis is carried out by the general practitioner. The individual symptoms and complaints are treated by a specialist doctor, although in most cases a complete treatment cannot be carried out.

Treatment & Therapy

Asomatognosia is difficult to treat. Since those affected often have no insight into the disease and therefore cannot understand it from their own experience, they often refuse therapy and sometimes even react aggressively to the diagnosis of asomatognosia. Understanding the disease is the first step in treatment. As a rule, this requires psychotherapeutic intervention, during which the patient is regularly reminded of the deficit.

Untreated asomatognosia can result in neurological deterioration, depending on the cause of the disease. Such deteriorations relate in particular to causative masses such as cysts and tumors. If the patient with an asomatognosia no longer feels that one half of the body belongs, this also entails a high risk of injury for the affected side of the body. Only early recognition of the deficits can prevent subsequent injuries.

The further treatment of the asomatognosia takes place after the insight of the disease depending on the respective cause. Cysts and tumors must be surgically removed. In the case of bleeding, it is important to prevent recurrences. Special therapies are available for syndromes such as Anton syndrome. Targeted light impulses can now largely reverse the cortical blindness of this disease, provided that it is treated quickly.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis for asomatognosia is not very optimistic. The patient’s lack of insight into the disease often makes treatment or medical care impossible. Patient consent is required for treatment to begin. This is rarely available due to a lack of insight or is withdrawn shortly after the start of treatment.

To change the situation, participation in psychotherapy is recommended. Only a few patients agree to this, as they do not perceive any sensation of illness. If consent is given due to the influence of a guardian, strong resistance from the patient is to be expected.

This leads to severe delays or a counterproductive result. Without treatment, an increase in asomatognosia can be expected. As the disease progresses, more symptoms appear. In severe cases, irreparable damage occurs.

In the best case, the patient agrees to the treatment and actively participates in the healing process. Here the improvement depends on the physical cause. However, a complete cure is still questionable. In the case of a tumor disease, a surgical intervention must be carried out. The subsequent therapy and the condition of the tumor are decisive for a possible cure. There are ways to relieve bleeding. Nevertheless, there is also a risk of a fatal course of the disease.

prevention

Asomatognosia itself cannot be directly prevented. Causal diseases such as tumors or strokes can be prevented in moderation through a healthy lifestyle and regular check-ups.

aftercare

In most cases, the affected person with asomatognosia has no options for follow-up care. The disease cannot be treated completely either, as it is still largely unexplored at the present time, so that only purely symptomatic treatment can take place. However, therapy with the help of a psychologist can alleviate the symptoms of asomatognosia, so it is recommended for those affected.

Early diagnosis and treatment of asomatognosia also has a positive effect on the further course of the disease and can prevent possible complications. In some cases, tumors can also be responsible for the asomatognosia. These have to be removed by surgery.

After such a procedure, the patient needs to rest and take care of his body. Unnecessary exertion and physical activity should be avoided. Regular examinations are also useful to prevent tumors from reoccurring.

The loving care and support of the patient by friends and family is also useful and can make life much easier for those affected. In some cases, contact with other patients with asomatognosia can also be helpful, as this can lead to an exchange of information.

You can do that yourself

Anyone suffering from asomatognosia has no way of combating the disease through self-help measures. To make matters worse, most of those affected lack insight into their suffering. In this case, it is up to the relative to take appropriate measures to persuade the patient to undergo therapy and to organize everyday life in such a way that the risk of accidents is minimized.

Unapologetic patients should be made aware of their suffering by those around them in a sensitive but consistent manner. If the asomatognosia leads to the affected person neglecting one half of the body or certain parts of the body, this is relatively easy to do. In these cases, the patient should be photographed and confronted with the photos immediately.

The state of partial neglect can then no longer simply be rationalized away. The method is also helpful when body parts that are not perceived show clearly visible injuries, in particular blue-black discolored hematomas. Persistent confrontations of this kind can lead to the patient finally realizing his suffering and agreeing to treatment.

Since the person concerned does not perceive injuries themselves or does not correctly assign pain, relatives must regularly examine the person concerned physically. Otherwise there is a risk that fractures, especially in the hands or feet, will go undetected and the bones will grow together crookedly.

Sharp-edged furniture and other objects that are associated with an increased risk of accidents should be removed from the apartment.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.