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Prosopagnosia

Prosopagnosia is a neurological condition characterized by the inability to recognize faces. Prosopagnosia is also known as face blindness or face aggression. The term prosopagnosia comes from the Greek words for "sight" and "lack of knowledge". Depending on the degree of disability, some people with prosopagnosia may have difficulty recognizing a familiar face on their own; others will not be able to distinguish between unfamiliar faces, while still others may not even be able to distinguish a face as something other than an object. Some people with the condition cannot recognize their own face. Prosopagnosia is not related to memory impairment, amnesia, visual impairment, or learning disabilities. Prosopagnosia is believed to be the result of abnormalities, damage, or impairment of the right spindle-shaped gyrus, a fold in the brain that appears to coordinate the neural systems that control vision and memory perception. Prosopagnosia can result from a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or certain neurodegenerative diseases. In some cases it is a congenital condition, present at birth without any brain damage. Congenital prosopagnosia appears to run in families and is therefore likely to be the result of a genetic mutation or deletion. Some degree of prosopagnosia is common in children with autism and Asperger's syndrome and may be the cause of their impaired social development. present at birth without any brain damage. Congenital prosopagnosia appears to run in families and is therefore likely to be the result of a genetic mutation or deletion. Some degree of prosopagnosia is common in children with autism and Asperger's syndrome and may be the cause of their impaired social development. present at birth without any brain damage. Congenital prosopagnosia appears to run in families and is therefore likely to be the result of a genetic mutation or deletion. Some degree of prosopagnosia is common in children with autism and Asperger's syndrome and may be the cause of their impaired social development.

Therapy

The focus of any treatment should be to help the individual with prosopagnosia develop compensatory strategies. Adults who have the condition as a result of a stroke or brain trauma can be retrained to use other clues to identify individuals.

Prognosis

Prosopagnosia can be socially paralyzing. People with the disorder often have trouble recognizing family members and close friends. They often use other ways of identifying people, such as relying on voice, clothing, or unique physical characteristics, but these are not as effective as recognizing a face. Children with congenital prosopagnosia are born with the disability and have never had a time when they could recognize faces. Increased awareness of autism and the autism spectrum disorders, which accompany communication disorders such as prosopagnosia, is likely to make the disorder less overlooked in the future.

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