Madness and courage: 3 facts about the rare Urbach-Witte disease that deprives a person of fear

Madness and courage: 3 facts about the rare Urbach-Witte disease that deprives a person of fear

Categories: Health and Medicine

Whether we want it or not, but fear is a feeling that accompanies us from the moment of birth until death, there is no escape from it. It is fear that can be considered the most effective survival mechanism, because it allows you to adequately respond to dangerous situations. But there are also those among us who are unfamiliar with such a condition and these are not brave climbers or predator tamers, but people with Urbach-Vite disease, which affects the brain.

Madness and courage: 3 facts about the rare Urbach-Witte disease that deprives a person of fear

Calcium is deposited in the brain of people suffering from Urbach-Vite disease. And this happens in a certain place – in the amygdala. This part of the brain is responsible for emotions, including the feeling of fear. In some cases, the disease only dulls fear, but sometimes an important part of the brain is completely destroyed, and in this case, fear is unfamiliar to a person at all.

Madness and courage: 3 facts about the rare Urbach-Witte disease that deprives a person of fear

There are also external signs of this disease. A person has bumps around his eyes, and his voice becomes very rough. And some of the patients with Urbach-Vite disease complain of skin problems and periodic seizures. People with pathological courage have been known since ancient times, but scientists were able to describe the disease itself only in 1929.

Patients with Urbach-Vite syndrome are capable of reckless, even insane actions. A well-known case is when an American woman with this disease was attacked by a robber with a knife on the way to the store and, holding a knife to her throat, demanded to give him money. The victim replied to him that he could stab her if he wanted, but she would return from the other world and make his life unbearable.

Madness and courage: 3 facts about the rare Urbach-Witte disease that deprives a person of fear

Since there were absolutely no emotions on the woman's face at the moment of communication with the robber, the villain was scared and, without hurting her, rushed to flee. The same resident of the USA takes large spiders and venomous snakes in her hands without fear. Scientists are studying this case, and it gives them all new discoveries.

It turns out that this woman not only does not know fear, but also cannot recognize it on the face of other people. Moreover, she is an artist and can draw any emotion except fear. Yes, nothing human is alien to her: love, tenderness, surprise, joy, sadness. Only fright is unknown to her.

Unfortunately, there are no medications for the disease yet and doctors can only prescribe medications to relieve symptoms. Therapeutic agents are widely used to improve the condition of the skin, as well as anticonvulsants. But nothing can be done about the absence of fear, and experts recommend that such patients rely on prudence and logic in making decisions.

Madness and courage: 3 facts about the rare Urbach-Witte disease that deprives a person of fear

But there are also positive aspects. The main one is that this disease is very rare and a little more than 300 cases have been recorded in 100 years since its discovery. A quarter of all patients were from South Africa. In addition, Urbach-Wite disease refers to genetic pathologies and you can only be born with it. Most often, children with a congenital disease appear where people live in small, close communities in which incest occurs.

Keywords: Health and medicine | Treatment | Disease | Danger | Brain | Fear | Genetics | South africa

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