A look at Cotard syndrome; A rare disease that turns people into zombies!

Cotard's Syndrome (Cotard's Syndrome) or the moving dead syndrome is an extremely rare condition worldwide that you may not have heard of. This syndrome, which occurs due to neurological problems, patients mistakenly believe that a part of their body is missing. In a worse scenario, patients imagine that they are not alive or do not exist at all! The moving dead syndrome is not only one of the rarest human diseases and diseases in the whole earth, but the story of this strange syndrome is so strange that researchers are dealing with significant challenges regarding the mechanism of this disease and its treatment.

BingMag.com A look at Cotard syndrome; A rare disease that turns people into zombies!

Cotard's Syndrome (Cotard's Syndrome) or the moving dead syndrome is an extremely rare condition worldwide that you may not have heard of. This syndrome, which occurs due to neurological problems, patients mistakenly believe that a part of their body is missing. In a worse scenario, patients imagine that they are not alive or do not exist at all! The moving dead syndrome is not only one of the rarest human diseases and diseases in the whole earth, but the story of this strange syndrome is so strange that researchers are dealing with significant challenges regarding the mechanism of this disease and its treatment.

Up-to-date, accurate and reliable information on the prevalence of moving dead syndrome or Cotard's syndrome is not available at the international level. However, in various scientific and medical articles, it is pointed out that almost two hundred people around the world are struggling with this disease. However, in a study conducted in 1995, interesting and thought-provoking results were obtained from the examination of one hundred patients with this syndrome. 45% of the patients of the statistical population of the research have denied their existential identity. The rest of the people, i.e. 55% of the patients, faced the illusion that they are immortal. This shows that walking dead syndrome, contrary to its name, does not only cause the illusion of death in the patient, and a person may fall from the other side of the canvas and have illusions of immortality. Having said that, right now this question may have formed in your mind, how was this condition identified and in the next step, how and why this illusion was introduced and promoted as a rare syndrome.

Dr. Jules Cotard; A scientist whose name was recorded in the history of medical sciences

Jules Cotard, a famous French doctor and neurologist in 1880, after investigating a neurological disorder, concluded that some symptoms are not necessarily due to the presence of a disease. no longer occur. He considered the "delusion of negation" a separate disease. However, when a different case came to Cotard's hands, the neuroscientist somewhat changed his view of the sign.

Cotard encountered a female patient who claimed that parts of her body were missing. This woman also strongly refused to eat; Because he believed that he was eternally cursed and immortal, and for this reason he is not going to die a natural death. Finally, Cotard faced the death of the patient due to extreme hunger. In describing this syndrome, Cotard explains that the complication of the walking dead syndrome usually appears with other symptoms such as despair and self-loathing. It is also often reported that patients with this syndrome also suffer from depression. With all these interpretations, Cotard's syndrome is usually not included in the list of psychological disorders in various texts and sources, and this disease is attributed to physical problems. At that time, Cotard could not discover the mechanism of this disease in the first place. Consequently, the treatment of walking dead syndrome was not well defined. The passage of time and the advancement of technology could have small but significant effects in these two fields. .jpg" class="content-pics" alt="BingMag.com A look at Cotard syndrome; A rare disease that turns people into zombies!" title="BingMag.com A look at Cotard syndrome; A rare disease that turns people into zombies!" loading="lazy">

Pathophysiologists as well as neurophysiologists have come to the conclusion that Cotard syndrome can occur due to problems in the perceptual part of the brain. For this reason, this disease is also known as Cotard's delusion in some texts. It seems that Cotard's syndrome is similar to another disease called Capgras Delusion and is related to the mechanism of this delusion. According to the Kapgrass illusion, the patient believes that a member of his family has been stolen by another being. In this case, the patient claims that they are not real when facing his family members. This rare syndrome is known as the Capgras illusion in honor of Dr. Capgras, the prominent French psychologist who first noticed such a disorder. Both in Cotard's illusion and Kapgras' illusion, the surface of a part of the brain tissue known as the tissue containing spindle-shaped nuclei is facing this class of neurological disorders. This part of the brain, which has spindle-shaped nuclei, is responsible for recognizing faces. There is also a nucleus in a part of the brain called almond-shaped nucleus or amygdala, which has to perform various tasks. One of the effects of the amygdala nuclei is the association between emotions and familiar faces. It seems that in the mentioned two illusions, this core also faces problems. However, where exactly is the problem? What did Cotard fail to understand about the mechanism of this disease at that time?

The neurological disorder in patients with Cotard's syndrome causes them to perceive a face that does not belong to a familiar person. Therefore, patients face problems in communicating with their surroundings. This incident gradually causes the patient to disconnect from the real world. If the face that the patient reports to others is the face of a stranger, then the Kapgrass illusion has been created. If the patient sees his face in another person's body See, it must be admitted that the patient has Cotard's syndrome; The illusion that a person believes does not exist externally, or maybe he is somehow dead and does not know!

Cotard syndrome is usually reported along with diseases such as schizophrenia (dual personality) and psychosis

Cotard syndrome is usually reported along with diseases such as Schizophrenia (dual personality) and psychosis are reported. However, Cotard's syndrome seems to be associated with brain tumors and migraine headaches. In fact, it is argued that Cotard's syndrome may be related to the presence of a brain tumor. According to scientists, such an illusion can be considered as one of the first signs of a certain type of brain tumors. Cotard's illusion. Certain chemical drugs can also cause such a complication, albeit temporarily. Medicines such as acyclovir and valacyclovir are two exemplary examples in this field. In fact, these two drugs secrete a substance in the body as a metabolite, which probably causes this syndrome. From the biochemical aspect, it has been hypothesized that high amounts of 9-carboxy-methoxy-methyl-guanine, which is a metabolite of aciclovir, causes Cotard's syndrome. However, more detailed research is needed in this field to be able to refer to this point.

It is interesting to know that there have been reports that some patients with kidney disorders have complained of a complication similar to Cotard's syndrome, which often By performing blood dialysis, their hallucinations were significantly reduced a few hours after the treatment. It seems that Cotard's illusion can have quite a variety of causes. For this reason, it becomes difficult for researchers to discover a single and specific treatment strategy.

Cotard syndrome symptoms

Cotard syndrome is a neurological disorder as mentioned earlier. For this reason, the symptoms of this disease are only related to the mind. On the other hand, identifying this syndrome is extremely difficult; Because this syndrome often shows itself in interaction with the symptoms of other psychological diseases. It is also necessary to mention that the patient is not supposed to show all the following symptoms to be able to say that he has Cotard's syndrome. A single result can be reached by considering several signs. Symptoms include:

  • delusion that the person is dead or dying or does not exist at all
  • acute depression and distress
  • indifference to Pain
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Avoidance of speech and conversation
  • Avoidance and prevention of eating food as a patient when he believes that he is dead, a reason and motivation Not for food consumption
  • Hearing imaginary voices that say the patient is dead or dying
  • Attempting self-harm
  • Cultivating ideas from being cursed or rejected
  • Illusions of Immortality

Diagnosis of Cotard Syndrome

BingMag.com A look at Cotard syndrome; A rare disease that turns people into zombies!

Since Cotard's syndrome is extremely rare and only a few people suffer from this disease globally, doctors face many challenges to identify and diagnose this syndrome. For this reason, simply taking a history in this field is not enough and doctors often try to find this syndrome first by rejecting other options.

Although Cotard syndrome does not distinguish between young and old, most people over 50 They face such a strange complication every year. Affected patients under the age of 25 usually show bipolar depression. It has also been mentioned that women are more likely to suffer from this disease than men. As it was said, currently and with current technology, it is not possible to claim with certainty at the very beginning that a patient has this syndrome. Of course, if a person has suffered a brain injury or there is a brain lesion or tumor in the MRI and CT scan images, Cotard's syndrome can also be considered as one of the possible diseases.

Cotard's syndrome treatment

Currently, like many other rare diseases, Cotard syndrome has no specific treatment. When Jules Cotard noticed this syndrome, he could not do anything special for the patient, except for prescribing some anti-depressants. Unfortunately, in the current situation and in the 21st century, nothing so revolutionary has happened in this field. However, a working strategy is suggested by some scientists.

According to a review article published in 2009, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a common and effective treatment for this disease. . Of course, it should be pointed out that ECT is not exclusively for the treatment of this disorder and it is also useful for improving the serious condition of depression in patients. The ECT process is performed in such a way that after the patient is anesthetized, small conductive electrodes are placed in parts of the brain. In the next step, to certain parts of the brain that are probably defective Specific shocks are being induced in order to reduce or in the best possible case eliminate the desired disorder. However, doing ECT is not only not recommended, but this treatment process carries terrible risks. Examples include memory loss, confusion, diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle pain. For this reason, ECT is usually considered the last resort and the doctor's effort to improve the physical and mental condition of a patient with Cotard's syndrome. Except for the following four measures, no solution can currently be offered to prevent the progression of Cotard's syndrome. Four measures which are:

  • Use of antidepressants
  • Use of antipsychotic drugs
  • Psychotherapy
  • Behavior therapy
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Is pie a gene involved?

BingMag.com A look at Cotard syndrome; A rare disease that turns people into zombies!

Recently an article in Journal Front. Psychiatry has been published that several scientists have reviewed this disease. Researchers have observed this complication in patients suffering from encephalitis. In a very simple and concise language, encephalitis is called inflammation of the brain, which is caused by infection or the response of the immune system to internal factors. Brain tissue swells when faced with encephalitis, and due to this, the patient faces headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, seizures and even psychological problems. Scientists' reports indicate that mild encephalitis may be one of the main causes of Cotard's syndrome and even similar syndromes such as Kapgras. In case of autoimmune events, that is, the immune system attacks the body's cells, genetic disorders can be indirectly considered as one of the causes of this disease. Otherwise, a specific gene that directly causes Cotard's syndrome has not yet been introduced.

Life of affected patients; An Endless Nightmare

It's a big claim, but healthy people will never understand the many problems patients with Cotard syndrome and even Kapgrass syndrome face every day. Mentioning the phrase "I understand you" only helps to worsen the mental condition of the patient! At the beginning of the syndrome, like many mental disorders, patients deny their problems in the first place, but gradually, when more symptoms appear, patients become depressed. Consequently, when patients feel that they are publicly walking dead, they will refrain from certain activities. For example, it is quite common for this category of people to forbid bathing and consuming food. When patients realize that there is neither a cure for this syndrome nor an escape, they try to stay away from society. This behavior usually aggravates depression and the feeling of isolation from the real world. When patients realize that there is neither a cure for this syndrome nor an escape, they try to stay away from society. More serious, they commit suicide. Some people do this to end their lives, while others try to prove to those around them that because they have already died, they will not experience death again by committing suicide. In both scenarios, something sinister awaits patients. While encouraging patients to take medicine, they should also try not to isolate themselves from the surrounding environment and society. Isolation only worsens the symptoms.

Unfortunately, people who suffer from this condition are afraid to go to the doctor's and psychiatrist's office. In order to prevent worse things from happening, patients should be encouraged to do this. Antidepressants can help reduce symptoms, although they will never make Cotard's symptoms go away. On the other hand, if the patient is severely challenged in doing his daily life, ECT can be suggested for treatment. Despite the potential risks of this treatment process, the effectiveness of electroshock therapy can benefit the patient. In order to prevent the comprehensive development of Cotard's syndrome, it is necessary to avoid leaving the patient alone in a closed environment such as home. Occupying the patient's mind, encouraging the patient to do group activities in society, encouraging the person to consume food and drink, and of course forcing the patient to take the drugs prescribed by the doctor, are the only current solutions to combat this syndrome. It is considered rare and dangerous. It is hoped that with the advancement of neuroscience and medical engineering technologies, it will be possible to treat Cotard syndrome definitively in the near future.

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